Luminosity (W/Dvd)


aec.gete1751.2 10/20/09 New

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    Luminosity (W/Dvd)

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Review Text Giacomo Gates has flown under the radar for decades, always a rising star, but never able to grab the brass ring as one of the most talented and entertaining of a small cadre of male jazz vocalists. This new studio CD & club date DVD combo pack, only his fourth recording, should sway unacquainted listeners and attract an audience to what he does best -- play to the listener. In his flatted tone and effusive manner, Gates can charm you, impress you with his vocal chops, and tell the tall tales of jazz from hard, cold experience that few singers know. Gates also knows how to pick a first-rate band, with the extraordinary pianist John DiMartino his main foil, the peerless bassist Ray Drummond, Cleveland veteran Greg Bandy on the drums, and lesser known but skilled players as guitarist Tony Lombardozzi and unsung tenor saxophonist Bob Kindred helping out. Always aware of the swing factor, Gates takes an enhanced lyric line to "Comes Love," sings his own words about the modern-day rat race and slowing the pace of life down on Thelonious Monk's "Let's Cool One" retitled "Peace of Mind," and does Meredith D'Ambrosio's bopping "Melodious Funk" alongside Kindred in regards to missing your one and only. Always fond of Babs Gonzales and Eddie Jefferson, Gates interprets the insular, self-promoting "Me, Spelled M-E, Me," the heartbreaking ballad "The Beginning of the End," and the bass/vocalese primed "What Am I Here For?" Among the sliders or curveballs included; a wonderful bluesy version of Jimi Hendrix's "Up from the Skies," the slightly ribald yearning for a good meal during "Hungry Man," the e-mail disdain of "P.S., I Love You," and the completely deadpan, sarcastic, and contempt riddled talking point tune "Full of Myself." The accompanying DVD is from a performance at Pearls' in San Francisco, backed by a quartet featuring pianist Larry Dunlap. Eddie Jefferson's lyrics are featured on the classic read of "Billie's Bounce," the great rendition of the combo tune "Lady Be Good/Disappointed" of which Gates has heroically done for years, and another take of "Melodious Funk." Though Gates is handsome and full of charisma, he's not as slick or pop-oriented as the Harry Connick, Jr. types. This is a good thing, because the authentic, pure bop invention of his American idols still deserves to be heard. Giacomo Gates does it right, and he keeps diggin' up buried jazz treasures. ~ Michael G. Nastos

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