Album Reviews

Music You Don't Know You Like Yet

AL BASILE

THE TINGE

2008-06-25

Trumpet player Al Basile delves deep into musical history in the liner notes of this set by recalling Jelly Roll Morton’s explanation that jazz grew out of the Spanish Tinge which places the accents on the first, fourth and seventh beats of an eight beat pattern. Using this as a base, Basile applies the tinge to the thirteen self-penned cuts collected on this fine new disc which blurs the already fuzzy line between jazz and blues. Sounding uncannily like his old band mate Duke Robillard on vocals (who also produced and played guitar on this set) Basile applies his Master’s degree in creative writing to tales of bridging the gap between lovers, "Airlift My Heart", where the muted trumpet evokes the painful divide, as well as tales of finding just the right woman, "Not the Wrong Woman", where he boasts “I asked for a Jackson, she gave me three bighead Bens” over a rollicking horn driven soundtrack that recalls his early stint with Roomful of Blues. Warm organ grooves compliments of Bruce Katz fuel the thoughtful "Can I Trust You with a Kiss" while a buoyant beat propels "Give me a Rainbow" giving Basile a chance to echo Tony Bennett’s upbeat side. On "Too Slow Basile" and Robillard are joined by former Roomful band mates Rich Lataille and Doug James for a slow burning jazz number that pays tribute to the time the band spent working with Eddie “Cleanhead’ Vinson. The torch keeps burning on "While We’re Dancing" which features Basile’s rich trumpet work behind lyrics about the simple joy of traditional cheek to cheek slow dancing. Basile turns up the heat considerably on "Daddy Got a Problem" where the syncopated groove and Katz’s swirling organ propel his tale of a troublesome mate who soon finds her way down the road on the slide guitar propelled, "You’re Still Right (and I’m Still Gone)". Also included are gems about people who are their own worst enemy, "She’s in Love with Losing", and succumbing to the allure of the opposite sex, "Losing My Cool". In addition to the finely honed lyrics, what really sets this disc apart from other blues discs featuring horns is that Basile uses his trumpet as a lead instrument instead of just another part of the horn section competing for attention with the sexy saxophone. With everything from bright jazzy runs to heavily muted, low-down smoky accents, Basile recaptures the role of the trumpet as the meat of the sound, not just the gravy. With strong, thoughtful lyrics, a crack band and a master’s touch on trumpet, Basile has crafted a terrific release. SMITTY

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Compiled by the WYCE Journalism Club

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