Bobby Paunetto

Commit to Memory/Paunetto's Point

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Back in 1974 and 1976, vibraphonist/composer Bobby Paunetto recorded a couple of intriguing albums that have remained quite obscure. This 1998 double-CD reissues the two sets (Commit to Memory and Paunetto's Point) in full. Although Paunetto's original inspiration was Cal Tjader -- and there are moments during these Latin jazz performances where the music is a bit reminiscent of Tjader's -- in general, the results are quite original and unpredictable. Particularly in the 1976 Commit to Memory set, the music is often dense, a large group of musicians are utilized, and the modern jazz selections feature quite a few events occurring simultaneously. Among the more notable supporting players on this program are pianist Armen Donelian, trumpeter Tom Harrell, trombonist Ed Byrne, the underrated tenor saxophonist Todd Anderson (one of the main stars), and baritonist Ronnie Cuber. In total, around 40 musicians participated on the project, including guitarist John Scofield, who is on the opening "Spanish Maiden." The earlier set has a smaller nucleus, but those players include Jerry Gonzalez on congas (sometimes the music sounds a little like his Fort Apache Band would more than a decade later), the same horn players, and an exciting percussion section. Although Paunetto contributed most of the originals and is a key voice in the ensembles, he is generous in allocating space to his sidemen. And, although dating from over 20 years before the reissue, the music sounds surprisingly fresh and could have been recorded in the late '90s. Well worth checking out.

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