GIACOMO GATES, THE REVOLUTION WILL BE JAZZ: THE SONGS OF GIL SCOTT-HERON

For a singer, Giacomo Gates’ baritone is unmistakable, like blue label scotch and just as fine. His terrific concept album, “The Revolution Will Be Jazz: The Songs Of Gil Scott-Heron” (Savant Records) risks a bittersweet listen since Scott-Heron passed away during Gates’ recording of the album, but with Gates at the helm the experience proves to be willfully celebratory. A former construction worker, Gates stepped into the professional jazz arena late in life and there’s a refreshing knock-about quality he brings to standards. “Revolution” is this singer’s tour-de-force, a self-assured combination of words and music that Gates treats like lost classics, permeating them with verve. With potent musicians in tow – pianist John Di Martino, guitarist Tony Lombardozzi, bassist Lonnie Plaxico, drummer Vincent Ector and a fine Clare Daly on baritone sax – Gates swings (“Show Bizness”,) croons (“This Is A Prayer For Everybody To Be Free”) and gets his groove on (“Lady Day and John Coltrane.”) Gates is a storyteller standing somewhere between Van Morrison and Mose Allison, and this recording seduces with old-school charm especially when Gates kicks in his flawless vocalese - the wordless note-perfect vocals that singer Eddie Jefferson perfected. (10 tracks; 50:05 minutes)

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JAZZ IN SPACE: GIACOMO GATES, THE REVOLUTION WILL BE JAZZ: THE SONGS OF GIL SCOTT-HERON

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

GIACOMO GATES, THE REVOLUTION WILL BE JAZZ: THE SONGS OF GIL SCOTT-HERON

For a singer, Giacomo Gates’ baritone is unmistakable, like blue label scotch and just as fine. His terrific concept album, “The Revolution Will Be Jazz: The Songs Of Gil Scott-Heron” (Savant Records) risks a bittersweet listen since Scott-Heron passed away during Gates’ recording of the album, but with Gates at the helm the experience proves to be willfully celebratory. A former construction worker, Gates stepped into the professional jazz arena late in life and there’s a refreshing knock-about quality he brings to standards. “Revolution” is this singer’s tour-de-force, a self-assured combination of words and music that Gates treats like lost classics, permeating them with verve. With potent musicians in tow – pianist John Di Martino, guitarist Tony Lombardozzi, bassist Lonnie Plaxico, drummer Vincent Ector and a fine Clare Daly on baritone sax – Gates swings (“Show Bizness”,) croons (“This Is A Prayer For Everybody To Be Free”) and gets his groove on (“Lady Day and John Coltrane.”) Gates is a storyteller standing somewhere between Van Morrison and Mose Allison, and this recording seduces with old-school charm especially when Gates kicks in his flawless vocalese - the wordless note-perfect vocals that singer Eddie Jefferson perfected. (10 tracks; 50:05 minutes)

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