Thursday, September 2, 2010

Jimmy Amadie Trio: Kindred Spirits

TPR Records
By Ric Bang • Originally published in The Davis Enterprise, 9.2.10
Buy CD: Kindred Spirits

The “trio” designation here is misleading; six musicians actually contributed to this album. Amadie and drummer Bill Goodwin are constants, and Amadie wrote five tracks.

Lee Konitz (alto sax), Lew Tabackin (tenor sax and flute) and Joe Lovano (tenor sax) alternate on the various tunes, and bassists Tony Merino and Steve Gilmore also split duties. Amadie either played with these guys at some point during his career, or he wanted to, but hadn't been able to — until now — due to his health problems.

Jimmy started out as a musician who was also an athlete. He played baseball and boxed while young, and both sports caused injuries to his hands, fingers and arms. Broken bones were only the beginning; he has also had a lifelong battle with extreme tendonitis, which put a halt to his piano playing for decades at a time.

Then, not long ago, he was diagnosed with lung cancer. As a result, three sessions were required to complete this album. There were no rehearsals, and everything was done as a single take.

Most of these guys are senior citizens: Amadie is 73, Konitz is 82, Goodwin and Tabackin are 70, and Lovano is 60. Trust me, they still swing like they used to.

Konitz was part of the birth of “cool” jazz and, after a start with Claude Thornhill, worked with Lennie Tristano, Miles Davis and Stan Kenton. Tabackin and his wife, pianist Toshiko Akiyoshi, formed a big band and have played together for years. And everyone who loves big bands knows about Lovano, who starred with Woody Herman for years.

This is a nice visit to the good ol' days.

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