Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Rich Corpolongo

Rich Corpolongo - Get Happy - Delmark


    Some years ago, it seems like decades I first caught reedist Rich Corpolongo with Marshal Vente's big band. Heretofore only having a vague idea of who he was over the years hence I've come to have a healthy respect for his prodigious abilities as an accomplished musician. Not having heard any of Mr. Corpolongo's prior Delmark recordings I was in for a slap upside the head upon listening to his latest, 'Get Happy'.
    After repeated listening what came to mind was how reminiscent he was of the late Chicago legend, master saxist Joe Daley!
    Then another slap upside the other side of my big noggin when the revelation hit me like a ton of bricks! Well guess what friends? Rich Corpolongo was a Daley acolyte!
    A quick perusal of Rich's web page bore that out. He and Daley were 'thick as thieves'! They were a hot item for some years little did I know. But the history of jazz is abundant with stories like this one. Daley's gone on but Rich Corpolongo upholds his legacy. And proudly!
    "Get Happy" is a tour-de-force in your face, pure jazz sax trio if there ever was one. A master himself Corpolongo joins forces with two other masters in bassist Dan Shapera and Rusty Jones, who at this juncture in history is one of the greatest living drummers around. Highly musical and ever alert, Jones is a lyrical percussion painter who summons the nimble flexibility of a Buddy Rich to the polyrhythmic determinism of Elvin Jones. More importantly he's his own man and is a joy to hear (and to watch).
    Long noted for his alto sax and smaller reeds this time out Corpolongo handles the tenor. And man does he handle it! Could this be a 'tribute' to his mentor Joe Daley? After-all Daley was well known for his tenor-bass-drum excursions. A 'freedom' traveler well versed in the rules of the road Daley could be 'outside' yet possess a grounded 'inside' methodology. To the max degree Rich Corpolongo and his men flesh out a vibrant program of 'standards' that won't disappoint any listener. In the relaxed atmosphere of an acoustic friendly small theatre housed in the Sherwood Music School Corpolongo and crew, swing, swoop and maneuver up and over "Mangoes"; "Dewey Square"; "Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams" and several others including the title tune. With this superior recording one could only wish more success, notoriety and gigs for a well deserving Dan Shapera, Rusty Jones and Rich Corpolongo. Lord knows they surely can use it. An audience awaits!