GIACOMO GATES, MILES TONES


Fresh off the success of his much admired 2011 Gil Scott-Heron tribute recording The Revolution Will Be Jazz (Savant), vocalist Giacomo Gates may have paused at the idea of following up with another themed album, but when you have a chance salute Miles Davis, especially one with lyrics written by Oscar Brown, Jr., Eddie Jefferson and Jon Hendricks, the choice was a no brainer.   

Miles Tones reunites Gates with his Scott-Heron trio (bassist LonniePlaxico, drummer Vincent Ector and longtime pianist John di Martino) and features a classic combo sound that dovetails perfectly with his wonderfully grizzled baritone. The other key roles are filled by trumpeter Freddie Hendrix and guitarist Dave Stryker who give Miles Tones a club-ready feel. The album leads with the timeless composition “All Blues,” where the band locks in a lilting groove to best serve Gates’ distinctive croon. Pianist Di Martino comes close but never outshines the leader and the same needs to be said about the marvelous Stryker whose fretwork slips in a surprise or two (the sly Monk quote on “So What.”) Pulling tunes from throughout Miles’s discography, bookended by his Birth Of The Cool period (“Boplicity”) and Tutu (“’Long Come Tutu,”) Gates swings like the best in-the-tradition vocalists, which is not too shabby for a guy who toiled on Alaskan oil pipelines in a prior life before pursuing his true calling and stepping up to the mic at a gig.

With Miles Tones, Gates spring boards into the big league of great jazz singers with solid material and in-the-pocket musicians that underscores the leader’s intrinsic hipness and gift for a song. (10 tracks; 49 minutes)

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JAZZ IN SPACE: GIACOMO GATES, MILES TONES

Thursday, May 2, 2013

GIACOMO GATES, MILES TONES


Fresh off the success of his much admired 2011 Gil Scott-Heron tribute recording The Revolution Will Be Jazz (Savant), vocalist Giacomo Gates may have paused at the idea of following up with another themed album, but when you have a chance salute Miles Davis, especially one with lyrics written by Oscar Brown, Jr., Eddie Jefferson and Jon Hendricks, the choice was a no brainer.   

Miles Tones reunites Gates with his Scott-Heron trio (bassist LonniePlaxico, drummer Vincent Ector and longtime pianist John di Martino) and features a classic combo sound that dovetails perfectly with his wonderfully grizzled baritone. The other key roles are filled by trumpeter Freddie Hendrix and guitarist Dave Stryker who give Miles Tones a club-ready feel. The album leads with the timeless composition “All Blues,” where the band locks in a lilting groove to best serve Gates’ distinctive croon. Pianist Di Martino comes close but never outshines the leader and the same needs to be said about the marvelous Stryker whose fretwork slips in a surprise or two (the sly Monk quote on “So What.”) Pulling tunes from throughout Miles’s discography, bookended by his Birth Of The Cool period (“Boplicity”) and Tutu (“’Long Come Tutu,”) Gates swings like the best in-the-tradition vocalists, which is not too shabby for a guy who toiled on Alaskan oil pipelines in a prior life before pursuing his true calling and stepping up to the mic at a gig.

With Miles Tones, Gates spring boards into the big league of great jazz singers with solid material and in-the-pocket musicians that underscores the leader’s intrinsic hipness and gift for a song. (10 tracks; 49 minutes)

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