Joe Roccisano

Nonet

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Joe Roccisano had only a month to live when Nonet was recorded on October 9, 1997 -- on November 9, the Charlie Parker-influenced alto saxman died of a massive heart attack at the age of 58. For Nonet, his final studio date as a leader, Roccisano led what his friend Phil Woods would term a "little big band" -- a nine-piece unit that includes, among others, trombonist Conrad Herwig, tenor saxophonist Tim Ries, baritone saxophonist Jack Stuckey, trumpeter Greg Gisbert, pianist Bill Charlap and drummer Terry Clarke. Enjoyable, if conventional, Nonet finds Roccisano sticking with what he did best -- straight-ahead hard bop and familiar jazz and pop standards such as John Coltrane's "Moment's Notice" and Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Chega de Saudade (No More Blues)." This swan song reminds us that while Roccisano was never an innovator, he was a warm, likable improviser who always swung.

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