Completing my survey of a very powerful foursome of releases by the Japan-based LateSet label is Davy Mooney's marvelous Astoriano. As with his imprint-mates' CDs (Gilad Hekselmen here, Peter Mazza here, Amanda Monaco here), the gent is purveying jazz fusion, emphasis on the jazz, from a period we collectors cherish: the post-Miles era which elevated six-string thinking to another level. Of the four daunting fretbenders, Mazza's by far the most ferocious, Hekselman perhaps the most experimental, closely followed by Monaco and Mooney.
All are keeping the Hall / Coryell / McLaughlin / Martino / etc. flame alive by choosing key elements of the oeuvre and revivifying them. Mooney, in discharging his duty, is arguably the most eclectic and fluid—and John Pizzarelli wouldn't be the one arguing with me, as Mooney released a duet CD with the esteemed guitarist, son of the famed Bucky Pizzarelli, just this year. He also worked with the Thelonius Monk Institute Septet, no minor attribution, as any jazz enthusiast will readily attest. Perhaps ironically, of the four LS CDs, Mooney's is the most melodic even despite frequent departures from theme. The guy just possesses an abiding affinity for deep structures.
Perhaps, too, that's why he chose John Ellis to be his saxman. Ellis is a good deal more melodic than the horn players looming in the other discs, more Desmond-ish by way of Mulligan. Almost every cut here is long, ceding plenty of room for the players to flex their acumen. The liner claims Astoriano to be a rowdy record, but I disagree. It's an atmospheric Boho nightclub cavern CD—a slab hipsters, smiling coffee junkies, and quiet mavericks will flock to groove to, a brainy potpourri of flavors and images spun from a mind flowing like a river through Paris, London, and even L.A. (yeah, we have a meandering stream, but it's pretty punk and mostly concrete), carrying the audience to locales composed equally of streetlit byways and sophisticated pastoralities…not of rustics in their feudal wheatfields but urbanites treading their paces day to day.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
Website design by David N. Pyles