Joey Pero


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Classification is a serious problem in assessing Joey Pero's Resonance. At its most basic, this can be described as a jazz album in the style of contemporary jazz, led by a high-note trumpet specialist in the mold of Harry James and Maynard Ferguson (not that Pero actually bothers to credit himself with trumpet playing, or anything else, on his own album, but there are three brightly colored paintings of a trumpet player that dominate the CD package). To merely call this contemporary jazz, however, is misleading. For one thing, Pero is at pains, early on, to establish his bona fides as a classical player, throwing in tracks by Johann Sebastian Bach and Handel in between the show music standards and originals. And when he does turn to the classics, he doesn't treat them reverently. "Arutunian Trumpet Concerto," for example, is really a duet for trumpet and electric guitar, with Paul Livant making like Tommy Iommi of Deep Purple, and "Birth" ("based on "Ode to the Birthday of Queen Ann") matches a trip-hop beat to the interplay between the trumpet and Phoebe Snow, working the soprano end of her multi-octave voice for all she's worth. Even the show music isn't immune to Pero's creative meddling, as "Defying Gravity" (great song title for a high-note specialist!) from the Broadway musical Wicked starts out sounding like a hip-hop "joint" before calming down, at least temporarily. Actually, nothing is calm on this album for long. It's just hellzapoppin all the way through, and listeners simply need to tighten their seat belts and settle in for a wild ride.

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