Stingy Brim puts the tuba back in the jazz spotlight as Johnnie Valentino commemorates the 100th anniversary of the tuba's demise as the keeper of the bassline in jazz. The composer/guitarist Johnnie Valentino rights the wrong with this unchained, funky, toe-tapping tuba-organ quintet, full of catchy, irresistibly grooving tunes and propelled by New Orleans' second-line backbeat and Philly swagger. Valentino also features the clarinet and accordion (represented here by harmonium), both of which experienced a decline in use in many modern jazz ensembles. The title track, "Stingy Brim," opens with a swinging synchronized head before segueing into creative improvisations and solos from Valentino and drummer Mark Ferber before returning to repeat the head. "Dog Eggs" features the bouncy beats of the tuba and the clarinet in harmony to create an almost comedic sound at the open before Valentino polishes it with funky riffs, tones, and shapes that complement the happiness of the instruments. "Return," a blues with an ethereal quality to it, features electronic fills, organ, and harmonium interpretations that add extra dimensions to the featured tuba soloing of Randy Johnson. This is one of the "mo better blues" on the CD! "Stone Balloons" is an excellent vehicle for clarinetist Bob Sheppard, who is paired with Randy Jones. Together they rise to a sonic plateau that has the listener hanging on to their level of collaboration. Sheppard's soloing is impeccable here, as is his saxophone solo on "Where, When & How." "Coyote Cowboy" features a New Orleans second-line backbeat behind Valentino's stellar guitar lines that will hold you in its funky groove. Altogether, Stingy Brim is a fine interpretation of the early instrumental influences of tuba, clarinet, and accordion when paired with guitar, electronica, organ, and saxophone.
AllMusic Review by Paula Edelstein