Multi-instrumentalist Edgar Winter once said “I kind of enjoy defying categorization” and Ed Palermo too has occasionally drawn inspiration from outside the big band jazz canon. His third album in 1996 was dedicated to the music of Frank Zappa and originals by British rock bands can be found on his 2016 Great Un-American Songbook Volumes 1 & 2. Four years later, volume 3 in that series was recorded, focusing mainly on songs by the Beatles. However, his 2018 album A Lousy Day In Harlem represented a return to his jazz roots with performances of classics by Coltrane, Ellington and Monk.
Edgar Winter was one of Palermo’s earliest influences and this innovative CD features his 17-piece band with numerous guests interpreting charts that represent the best of jazz, rock and the blues.
The opening I Hate Everybody creates an exciting Gordon Goodwin Big Phat Band groove, showcasing Carlos Murguia with stellar solos from Jimmy Leahey and the leader. The soulful Kimberly Davis, who reminds me a little of Randy Crawford, makes Tobacco Road all her own. Robben Ford (who has performed with Jimmy Witherspoon, Miles Davis and Tom Scott) impresses here, backed with an ensemble chant that could have come straight out of the Ray Charles songbook.
The relaxed, laid-back swing of All Out, with its tricky harmonies, is a perfect vehicle for the leader’s inventive alto. Mose Allison, one of Winter’s heroes, is saluted on the foot-tapping Jump Right Out, with Kim Davis and Ed Palermo impressing yet again.
Vaneese Thomas, Rob Paparozzi and the leader are centre-stage on the driving rhythms of Fire And Ice and the sanctified, down-home feel of I’ve Got News For You; the latter’s humorous lyric is, as they say, “out-of-sight”. It was a staple of Woody Herman’s book for years but the band’s approach here was clearly inspired by Ray Charles’ great 1960 recording arranged by Quincy Jones.
I Hate Everybody; Tobacco Road; Peace Pipe; All Out; A Different Game; Dyin’ To Live; Jump Right Out; Entrance; Where Have You Gone; Rise To Fall; Fire And Ice; Hung Up; Back In The Blues; Re-Entrance; You Are My Sunshine; I’ve Got News For You (58.56)
Ronnie Buttacavoli, John Bailey, Steve Jankowski (t); Charley Gordon, Mike Boschen (tb); Matt Ingman (btb); Ed Palermo (as); Cliff Lyons (as, cl); Phil Chester (as, f); Bill Straub (ts, cl); Ben Kono (ts, f, oboe); Barbara Cifelli (bar); Bob Quaranta (p); Ted Kooshian (elp); Paul Adamy (elb); Ray Marchica (d). Featured guests: Robben Ford, Jimmy Leahey (elg); Katie Jacoby (vn); Kim Davis, Vaneese Thomas, Deb Lyons, Keith Anthony Fluitt, Chrissi Poland, Rob Paparozzi, Carlos Murguia (v). New Jersey & New York, circa 2014.
Sky Cat Records SC21 11001