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02/08/10

Joe Ascione Quartet
Movin' Up
Arbors Records

In the liner notes to Joe Ascione Quartet’s new album titled Movin’ Up , it says rhythm, class, style and imagination are key words when describing this light-hearted yet substantive recording by Ascione and some of his favorite musicians.

Along with Ascione on his third album are Allan Vache on clarinet, John Cocuzzi on piano and Frank Tate on bass.

Lead track”Movin’ Up” features the great piano work by Maryland born John Cocuzzi. Cocuzzi double pianos and adds vibes to this shuffle piece.
The seven minute rendition of Cole Porter’s “Get Out of Town” swings. Everyone gets into town on this one; it swings and may be the best track on the album.

Ascione gets a chance to shine with his drum solo with his Cuban beat rendition of the George Gershwin standard “Summertime.” Given his Cuban roots and playing, you can hear a trace of Buddy Rich in Ascione’s playing.
Ervin Drake’s penned “It Was a Very Good Year” gets a vocal treatment from pianist John Cocuzzi. Cocuzzi sings this smooth and his voice and phrasing is a good match.

Let’s not forget Allan Voche and his clarinet. After the first track, Voche takes his playing to great heights on “So In Love” (another Cole Porter penned tune). Voche soars over everyone else though bassist Frank Tate walks through this one with the traditional walking bass line.

Ascione gets to the brushes for “Zip-A-Dee- Doo-Dah’s Got Rhythm.” Most of Movin’ Up contains Ascione and everyone getting together to really swing but Ascione is outstanding on brushes on this song, leaving the sticks on the floor works perfectly.

Joe Ascione and his quartet have a swinging album. From the Afro-Cuban beats to the soaring clarinet, walkin’ bass lines and to the doubling piano and vocal, The Joe Ascione Quartet is movin’ in the right direction – up.

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