The Whaling City Sound Superband

A Killer Wail

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If music promises to create images, then the Whaling City Superband should feel very good about this album, as it has achieved that promise and more. Obviously inspired by the live audience in Dartmouth, MA, as well as the memory of tenor saxman, the late Bobby Green, the group grabs hold of a musical agenda of nonstandard material, shaking, stretching, and scorching it, and otherwise giving each cut a thorough vetting. While the liner notes indicate that the band gets together sporadically with little time to rehearse, the lack of practice time as a problem is hard to difine given the ways the group weaves their ideas resulting in a harmonious and probing 70 minutes of music. If one has to categorize this group, it would be a mix of smooth, soul/groove, progressive with a dash of Brazilian for seasoning as on "Nova Samba" featuring Stan Belmarce's assertive, but lyrical guitar and the John Coltrane-through-Ernie Waits-derived tenor of Dino Govoni. The debt to Waits comes through on the moving ballad "Union." The Govoni tenor is important in establishing the respectful mood when the group honors Green with "B. Blue, B. Greene, B. Gone." Some of the trappings of smooth jazz are present, the electric bass, the soprano sax. But they don't dominate as the group moves beyond that narrow category on such tunes as "Riddle," spotlighting the resonant vibes of Orlando Pandolfi. The session owes much to the piano of John Harrison and the drums of Rusty Russo, both of whom provide the rhythmic foundation on which their cohorts build. This taste of music played by these artists on their own Whaling City releases is recommended on its own merits.

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