Conticchio gets down and dirty or ethereal in the style of John Coltrane.
Leader Perry Conticcho like Blake, is another big-toned sax player. He has a big imperious Coltrane-derived sound and an impressive sense for melodic improvisation that is most evident on the fast pieces "Speak Your Truth," "Hyperbolde," and "Blues for Dave," but also works on the lovely ballad "Midnight Rain." Conticchio is a solid soprano player as well with a full dancing sound best shown on "Askold's Waltz." Conticchio is a saxophonist who can play with gravitas and has respect for the entire history of his instrument.
Conticchio soars; He is in and out, up and down, and all over the tenor sax. Conticchio switches to the soprano on the waltz, "PD Blues." He has a captivating and warm sound on soprano and creates correspondingly appealing solos here and on "Askold's Waltz," where he takes a solo steeped in virtuosi technique. His overall inspiration sounds to originate in post bop framework. His strength is certainly in his nimble technical ability to create "sheets of sound." Perry Conticchio has assembled a superb group of players to accompany him on this well-crafted recording, which provides an enjoyable snap shot of his skills as a composer and accomplished performer on soprano and tenor sax.
Ken Egbert, Jazz Now
Perry Conticchio (tenor and soprano saxes) comes off as a journeyman in the Hank
Mobley, Dexter Gordon, Frank Wess tradition, and his quartet (Rod Richardson,
guitar; Andy Cox, acoustic bass; Lawrence Dean, drums) will swing you even if you have more left feet than most herds of elephants."
Whether they are effortlessly shifting from 6/8 to 4/4 on the brisk "Hyperbole,"
gliding through the changes on "Askold's Waltz," or cooking up a lively Latin feel on
"Samba Stephanie," the band maintains a consistently high energy level both in backing
its soloists and functioning as an ensemble.
Perry Conticchio delivers genuine
jazz improvising on both tenor and soprano sax in a
style that is heavily influenced by the emergent saxophone school of the 1960s but remains
free of clichéd phrasing and note choices. If you're a fan of modern jazz saxophone but
haven't heard him yet, get your hands on a copy of this CD.
Monroe, DC North Jazz Avenues
Speak Your Truth, with several Conticchio originals, is highlighted
by Conticchios zesty soprano playing on his tune, PDs Blues, and
some ripping tenor riffs on Rivers Fuschia Swing Song.
David Wilson, Wilson & Alroy Record Reviews
3 1/2 Stars
"A ton of tenor sax players approximate John Coltrane's tone, but very few
come anywhere near his forcefulness and clarity of purpose. Perry Conticchio
does, furiously spewing notes on mind-expanding uptempo tunes (title track),
then playing lyrically - but no less intensely - on ballads ("Midnight Rain"). But
he's not a clone, with a flowing melodic style of his own."
Fuchsia Swing Song is the Quartet in overdrive. Hot and ill tempered, yet
delicious, this is an exercise in pure virgin cool. Short in length, but
very much a "kick it and run ragged" sound that should be frequently requested.
Dan McClenaghan, All about Jazz
Conticchio displays great chops and a tone that is tart and robust, with clean,
sharp articulation; and like Dexter before him, he blows the hell out of the horn,
with an engaging chip on the shoulder (with a grin) attitude.
All Music Guide
"Perry Conticchio is a high-powered tenor saxophonist whose tone
on some of his originals recalls John Klemmer."
Gilbert, Sony/Columbia Records
On "I Can't Get Started" Conticchio's tenor saxophone solo shows him at
his definitive best as he pours his all into this piece. This is by far
his best effort. "Fuschia Swing Song" is a rapid fire up tempo piece. A blistering sax
solo is the hallmark of this tune.
Bob Harrigan, artist liaison, music advisor:
"to say that you are an outstanding musician might be an understatement.
Your work, especially on soprano sax, Excellent!
Eight of the twelve songs here were composed by Conticchio, and the remaining four are arranged by him. Jazz composition, and to some degree arrangement of jazz works, requires very special skills. Based on this suite of songs, Conticchio has honed his skills well and is a consummate master of his form. Performed by six musicians at the top of their form, these songs are fully rounded and seamless, flowing across the listener with gentle dexterity. The effect is not of a dozen single songs played in isolation but of a full, rich jazz suite that includes all of these songs in just the right sequence.
While saxman Conticchio takes the lead in many of the songs, he also gives his colleagues plenty of room to strut their stuff. The combo at the core of this music is tight and refined with excellent, well-balanced performances by Conticchio on tenor and soprano sax, Rodney Richardson on guitar, Andrew Elliot Cox on acoustic bass, and Lawrence bubbles Dean on drums. Joseph Brotherton plays trumpet on two songs and Wayne Wilentz plays piano on two others. The trumpet and piano blend organically into the mix, never sounding extra or added-in. All of this is a tribute to both Conticchios skill as an arranger and the talents of the musicians with whom he works.
While it never sounds dated in any way, this music does have an old feel. Im reminded of the jazz I was buying on albums during the Sixties and early-Seventies. Although the sound of the songs is unified and the set holds together very well, Conticchio seems to have pulled in elements from a number of the jazz variations of mid-century and made musical allusions to several more, creating his own brand of subtle fusion. Its in his particular blend of styles that this music sounds fresh and new.
Besides Conticchios refined sax sound, this release features exceptional playing and outstanding moments featuring the other musicians. There are some impressive solos on bass and drums, cool piano bits, very Wes Montgomery sounding guitar, trumpet that at times takes me back to Bobby Hackett, and much more. Because of these many high points, this music welcomes the close listener who has a taste for excellence in jazz performance. At the same time, this is quiet club-jazz well suited to become background for a quiet meal and conversation or to be played at home while cuddling in front of the fireplace.
While I enjoy listening to this set, I keep thinking how much more enjoyable it would be to walk into a club somewhere and discover Perry Conticchio and the boys on stage. It would be a pleasure to watch such a masterful group of musicians at work. If you cant make it to a live performance, then this CD is the next best thing.
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Kari Gaffney, Publicist
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