© -Steven Cerra, copyright protected; all rights reserved.
Rewind is a co-release from Via Veneto Jazz and Jando Music. Italian saxophonist Max Ionata is among the leading players in the contemporary jazz scene and released his thirteenth album Rewind; his fourth recording produced by Via Veneto Jazz. With Rewind Max Ionata marks a turning point and repositions himself at the head of an entirely different ensemble: a Hammond trio. The group features an exceptional array of talents, comprised of master musicians of international stature with whom he established a remarkable synergy during numerous concerts in the past few years; namely the organist Alberto Gurrisi and the premier Dutch drummer Frits Landesbergen - also considered one of the best vibraphonists in Europe. This album truly represents a rewind - a transition veering from his traditional path - where Ionata starts anew with an abundance of creativity and bold stylistic innovations. An energetic swerve following an intense artistic career during which Max Ionata performed both as leader and as a special guest at international jazz festivals and clubs, collaborating with the greatest musicians in the world. The album contains two jazz standards, one song composed by Frits Landesbergen and arranged by Max Ionata, and six original by Ionata.
Of the nine songs in the album, six are autobiographical: "Drum" is a tribute to the great Italian trumpeter Marco Tamburini, with whom Max shared key moments in his musical career; "Bob's Mood" is inspired by Bob Mintzer and his unique style of composing; "Mr G.T." (with Amedeo Ariano at the drums and Frits Landesbergen on the vibraphone) is dedicated to his friend and colleague Gege' Telesforo, who inspired Max with his unique way of experiencing the stage and with his passion for funk. "North Sea" is a ballad, played on the soprano sax, enthused by the coastal landscapes; "Sunflower" stems from the effect of the intense colors of Van Gogh's sunflowers. Antonio Carlos Jobim's pulsing and rhythmic "Chovendo Na Roseira" and George Coleman's "Amsterdam After Dark" are a few featured covers. "At Vic's" is written by Frits Landebergen and dedicated to one of the greatest musicians in jazz, Victor Feldman.
The editorial staff tries hard [sometimes, perhaps too hard?] to find catchy titles for its blog postings.
This one gets it name from Rewind (VVJ 109) the title of a soon-to-be-released CD by one of our favorite Italian Jazz saxophonists - Max Ionata - on which he is joined by Frits Landesbergen the Dutch drummer and vibraphonist and Hammond Organist Alberto Gurrisi. This is his fourth recording produced by Jando Music | Via Veneto Jazz.
As is the case with his previous recordings, with Max, the swing is the thing.
Max uses a number of sophisticated devices to keep the set fresh for the listener including a variety of tempos, song structures and rhythmic devices such as playing the initial choruses in 2/4 before switching to 4/4 to really propel things forward on the solos they take on At Vic's.
Nobody “teaches” you this stuff. You’ve got to have “big ears,” listen closely and know how to apply what you are picking up on.
Max is a monster tenor player: technique to spare; a big, bossy, blustery tenor tone; a sense of swing reminiscent of the great “big horn” players of the past.
Ionata is so hard to classify, that once I stopped trying, I recognized him for who he is - a true original on the instrument with his own voice and his own style of improvisation. You’ve heard it all before and yet you haven’t. He is unique and he impresses with each and every song rendering and improvised solo.
If Max is reminiscent of anyone with his hard-charging, finger-poppin’, and full-bodied sound, the late Dexter Gordon’s name comes to mind. But Max puts things together using modern harmonies in a completely different manner than Dex. He has very much become his own man on his instrument. Respectful of the tradition, but still charging ahead to put his own stamp on it.
I had written about Frits - a dynamite Jazz vibraphonist, drummer and percussionist - previously when I posted a review of his Dynavibes Mons CD [MR 874-794] to the blog. Joining Frits on that recording are Larry Fuller, piano, Lynn Seaton, bass and Jeff Hamilton on drums.
Born in Voorschoten in 1961, Frits, whose father is an amateur guitarist and bassist, became interested in jazz around the age of 12 and, at 14, decided to become a professional musician. He studied at Amsterdam Conservatory, graduated in 1985, having studied tympani, classical snare drum, vibraphone and marimba, and began working extensively in Holland both as a drummer and vibraphonist. He also developed his skills as a composer and arranger.
Says Frits. "I enjoy having the possibility to work both as a drummer and as a vibraphonist because in the one case you are primarily an accompanist, giving support to the soloists and helping to keep things swinging and in the other case you are a soloist and have the opportunity to express your musical ideas and personality."
His musical associates over the years have included Rita Keys, Pirn Jacobs, the Rosenberg Trio, Madeline Bell and Louis van Dijk. He has also performed with Georgie Fame, Milt Jackson, Toots Thielemans, Eddie Daniels, Scott Hamilton, Barney Kessel, Joe Pass and Buddy de Franco, among others, and has appeared with the London Symphony Orchestra, the WDR Big Band and the Metropole Orchestra.
His performance with Milt Jackson was for a television show, and Frits recalls: "It was very exciting to be able to play and talk with Milt for three days in a row. That's a memory I'll treasure."
Rewind was presented “live” with an Italian tour that kicks off on May 10 in Rome, at the BeBop Jazz Club, and will then play dates in several cities including Pescara (Friday, May 13 at the Conservatory Auditorium “Luisa D’Annunzio”) and Milan, Sunday May 15 at the Blue Note.
Here are excerpts from the Via Vento Jazz/Jano Music press release:
“With “rewind” Max Ionata marks a turning point and repositions himself at the head of an entirely different ensemble: a Hammond Organ trio. The group features an exceptional array of talents, comprised of master musicians of international stature with whom he established a remarkable synergy during the numerous concerts in the past few years; namely the organist Alberto Gurrisi and the premier Dutch drummer Frits Landesbergen - also considered one of the best vibraphonists in Europe.
This album truly represents a “rewind” - a transition veering from his traditional path - where Ionata starts anew with an abundance of creativity and bold stylistic innovations. An energetic change-of-direction following the intense early years of an artistic career during which Max Ionata performed both as leader and as special guest at the world’s most important jazz festivals and clubs, collaborating with the greatest musicians in the world.
The album contains two jazz standards, one song composed by Frits Landesbergen and arranged by Max Ionata, and six original songs Ionata composed at the piano in August 2015, at his house in Abruzzo. Max has reached a time during which he is intensifying his musical research, starting with his great passion for American jazz, particularly modern hard bop, and unveiling new layers of that musical genius and intuitive melodic sense that distinguishes his music.”
Order information about the new CD can be located by going here. It is also available as an audio CD from www.amazon.com
Other websites that contain information about the principals involved in Rewind are http://www.maxionata.com/ www.jandomusic.com and www.viavenetojazz.it
The following video features the group on Frits At Vic’s as arranged by Max Ionata.