Recent listening, current

Sunday, August 18, 2013

124. Chuck Mangione / Love Notes (1982)

Love Notes has a cool and subdued feel, even for Mangione. But its charm is a sublimely clear tension roiling just beneath the surface that erupts in moments like the bright and sudden resurgences of mysterioso theme in "No Problem." I love the big and squibbly tone of Mangione's flugelhorn, and slippery technique that puts a human stamp on a style of jazz that too often gains marketability at the expense of character. During "No Problem," Mangione's minimal statements and restatements come and go over a funky vamp that recalls Miles Davis, weaving in and out of the choruses by Chris Vadala, a presence lurking in the eaves. The solos by Vidala and Peter Harris are excellent, mixing a clear appreciation of bop that stays close to the tune and deep in the groove. "Memories of Scirocco" is an evocative, songlike standout, combining bluesy inclinations with a subtly Latin flavor. Vadala breaks out the soprano midway and gets in some short, fiery licks that make the album worth having. "To the 80's" comes under fire of finger pops but retains an appeal for the classics with a melody that wouldn't be out of place on a Sonny Clark or Cliff Jordan date. Lastly, the title track is a wistful, smoldering ballad that closes the proceedings thoughtfully, dressed delicately by Vadala and Mangione.

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