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Tuesday, November 13, 2018

CD Review: Lucas Pino’s ‘No Net Nonet’ - That’s A Computer

Lucas Pino (tenor sax/bass clarinet), Alex LoRe (alto), Mat Jodrell (trumpet), Nick Finzer (trombone), Andrew Gutauskas (baritone), Rafal Sarnecki (guitar), Glenn Zaleski (piano), Desmond White(bass), Jimmy Macbride(drums), Camila Meza (voice). 
(Review by Dave Brownlow).

“That’s a computer” was the unkind, dismissive comment made by one of Lucas Pino’s professors at Juilliard Music School upon hearing the young saxophonist/composer/arranger’s work. “No Net Nonet” is the perfect riposte from Pino and his nine-piece ensemble and we can share their responses in the seven performances on this enjoyable, swinging and energetic CD.

Alex LoRe’s attractive Antiquity features the soaring, fleet-fingered altoist, amidst a pleasant-on-the-ear arrangement full of interest, changes of pace and carefully thought-out section work.
 The leader’s Horse of a Different Colour is a boppish blues featuring most of the band. Interestingly, Lucas contacted each of the soloists and asked them their favourite key to solo over! Talk about democracy in practice, LoRo, Finzer, Jodrell, Zakeski, Pino, Gutauskas and Sarnecki all get a chance to shine in their favourite key and style!

Film at 11 is a beautiful ballad from Pino, such lush orchestral textures from the six-piece front line, so reminiscent of Miles’ “Birth of the Cool” Band and Gil Evans’ arrangement of Moon Dreams

Look into My Eyes features the fluent trombone of Nick Finzer and Pino on tenor this time, in a quirky but irresistible melody with apposite band contributions of support. This is an exhortation by the writer for “human connection and eye contact rather than the impersonal brusqueness of many New Yorkers”

Pino’s fourth composition Frustrations features Camila Meza adding gorgeous wordless vocals to the aural textures of a somewhat impressionistic piece. This could have been written by Gil Evans himself, with rich background ensemble figures added to a tender bass clarinet solo from the leader. The “Birth of the Cool” re-imagined!

Guitarist Rafel Sarnecki provides Sueno de Gatos using words provided by poet Pablo Neruda. A complex, intricate theme introduces the vocal from Meza which has an up-tempo, slightly threatening, urgent feel, similar in some ways to Chick Corea’s Spain. A tenor solo and challenging band parts with drums to the fore sustain the mood.

A short Basketball Simulator 1000 – a theme song from a vintage Nintendo game – completes the album in a raucous, lively, ‘Township’ style bringing to mind “Brotherhood Of Breath” memories ….Surging bass lines from White and swinging, dynamic drumming from Macbride ensures this band moves with spirit.

On this evidence, Lucas Pino completely disproves his former professor’s thoughtless remarks providing a first-class, likeable, refreshing, creative display of jazz music in the contemporary idiom including ‘grooves’, harmony, swing, chord sequences and joy.
Dave B.

That’s A Computer is on OUTSIDE IN MUSIC OiM1814 and available now from lucaspino.com

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