Boston-based drummer Steve Langone has finally made it into the studio on his own with his first release as a leader. Only one item on the play list is a standard, Miles Davis' "Solar." The rest are originals, mostly by Langone in collaboration with Fernando Huergo, a composer and bass player of Argentinean origin who has CDs of his own out in the jazz marketplace. That he was so heavily involved in the making of the music for this CD means that there is at least a hint -- and often much more than a hint -- of Latin rhythm on many tracks, usually merged with a variety of other cadences. Overall, the music reveals a strong imagination and willingness to explore different rhythmic possibilities. The group is septet featuring hard bop tenorman Jerry Bergonzi, who shows his John Coltrane roots early in the session on "Ipanema's Blues." In contrast, he rhapsodizes on "Andalucia," trading ideas with Nestor Toro on alto sax. This is one of the more innovative tracks on the CD, as Bergonzi and Toro engage in mutually engaging counterpoint. While a septet, there is a revolving set of four different piano players. Langone changes keyboard players as often as most people change shirts. But the results are good, as each brings his own harmonic grain to the particular piece. The album's coda, "Dedication," has Langone pairing off with Bertram Lehmann, who creates a variety of percussive sounds which, with the leader's drums, concoct an exotic dance with strong Afro-Cuban implications. This first outing manages to create a potpourri of highly attractive music, while at the same time avoiding pretentious clichés too often heard on albums where the music is mostly from the pen of the leader. Recommended.
Finders Keepers Review
by Dave Nathan