Vinny Golia

Regards From Norma Desmond

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Surprise, surprise. When this 1986 session came out nearly a decade later, it was really nice to hear Vinny Golia back in what qualifies as a straight-up blowing session for him. It's rare enough he only brought his baritone sax to the session and the other members of his quintet were regular, long-term playing partners. "Teribee, Three Palm Slammy" hits the ground running with a nice post-bop head incorporating a mutated Monk motif behind a strong push from drummer Alex Cline. John Fumo, excellent throughout the disc, takes a strong solo before Golia takes over supported by Ken Filiano's walking bassline and a lean, clean return to the head. "The Cry (for Booker Little)" opens with a pretty medley colored by some Cline gongs-and-chimes shimmers, with the baritone solo steadily building in intensity to a climax. But the piece suffers when Cline and Filiano (to a lesser degree) get overbearing in their support and pull attention away from what pianist Wayne Peet is developing in his solo. They do better joining in the latter's solo on the mournful-to-majestic "Sent a Message" with another notable solo by Fumo tinted with Don Cherry. "3 Things for the Practitioner" is a bit more abstract and composed, with some pretty exchanges between a muted Fumo and Filiano swoops that turn dreamy and abstract for Golia.

"Professor Mackel's Famous Ride" opens with a bass solo favoring muted popping and its percussive flavor is an excellent trigger into the bright, extended melody over Cline's tom-tom propulsion. Golia heads off to the races and comes back home with extended lines and broad tone to intertwine with Fumo before the trumpeter launches his own solo. A Cline solo bridges into "It's Played Slowly," a riff-oriented piece with the lurching feel of Golia's compositions for his Large Ensemble and the horns used just for coloring. Regards From Norma Desmond is a timely reminder of a very productive phase in Golia's career. The playing and compositions are strong and it would be cool to hear Golia take a break from his more challenging projects and return to a kind of more relaxed format and informal atmosphere from time to time.