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September 2006

Jerry Vivino
Walkin' With the Wazmo
Zoho

Walkin’ With the Wazmo is an eclectic and entertaining album by the versatile tenorist currently appearing in the house band for Late Night With Conan O’Brien. Jerry Vivino lists his passions as “Jazz and R&B” with acknowledged saxophone influences including rhythm ’n’ blues tenorist King Curtis, along with numerous jazz giants. His diverse, mostly original program, performed by several combinations, reflects his varied interests. The uptempo version of Sonny Rollins’ “Pent-Up House,” with valve trombonist Mike Fahn, is straightahead quintet hard bop, as is “Cat’s ’R’ Us,” which, with Lew Soloff’s trumpet and the leader’s tenor, sounds like something from the Clifford Brown-Max Roach library. By contrast, the samba “Bellissima” showcases Vivino’s lovely flute sound and his ability to adopt a ’50s-cool stance on tenor. And his vocal rendition of Louis Jordan’s jumping “Knock Me a Kiss” as well as his own swinglike vocal “I’m Mad About You” go even farther afield stylistically. The funky title tune and the equally earthy “The Fried Piper,” a couple of Latin numbers (including Herbie Hancock’s “Dolphin Dance”) and some blues round out the program.

Originally published in September 2006
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