FAME Review: The Lalama Brothers - Erie Ave.
The Lalama Brothers - Erie Ave.

Erie Ave.

The Lalama Brothers

Available from CD Baby.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker

The Lalama Brothers band is actually two sets of siblings. Ralph (sax) and Dave (piano) Lalama got together with Peter (bass) and Kenny (drums) Washington for a good, clean, straight ahead jazz session. Not only that but the entire Lalama clan pitched in: Nofrey Lalama exec produced the gig, Nicole Pasternack Lalama edited it, Katie Lalama supplied the photography, and Roxanne Daghlian Lalama made the lasagna…how damn cool is that?! But it all makes sense, as the theme of the CD bases in family and neighborhood. Erie Ave.—the Bros. came up in Aliquippa, Pa., on that street—however, also features a couple of sit-ins by Joe Lovano, and when he and Ralph get together to solo and double up, man o man!

Dave mentions in the liner notes that Mike Marciano's engineering is superlative, and he isn't exaggerating. This is one of the few jazz CDs I've heard of late that didn't undermike the bass, balancing all musicians perfectly, making the music all the more rich and clear. Two for Two is a hoppin' blow fest while Portrait of Jennie is balladic, so the listener transitions from thrashing around happily in the deep end of the pool to floating calmly on the surface, ready to take the plunge again as soon as Gerry Mulligan's Five Brothers steps up in a great introductory bass solo, horns crashing in just after.

Much as I love outside, free, and good jazz noise musics, there's nothin' quite like a really together respect for the trad side of the house in the work issuing from such a sentiment. Now that Jazz Lite, Adult Contemporary, The Wave, and all those other hideous marketing niches have sunk under, there's more of this ilk of material than ever; the jazz climate's warming up once again, sometimes incandescently. Erie Ave. will remind you, in case you've forgotten, as to why you started listening to jazz in the first place many years ago.

Track List:

  • Erie Avenue (Ralph Lalama)
  • Two for Two (Dave Lalama)
  • Portrait of Jennie (Burdge / Robinson)
  • Five Brothers (Gerry Mulligan)
  • Nofrey And Jennie (Dave Lalama)
  • Four Brothers (Jimmy Giuffre)
  • Till We Meet Again (Dave Lalama)
  • Firm Roots (Cedar Walton)
  • The Gospel According To… (Dave Lalama)
  • Everything Happens to Me (Adair / Dennis)

Edited by: David N. Pyles

Copyright 2014, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
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