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CD Review: John Beasley - Positootly

Year: 2009

Record Label: Resonance Records

Style: Straight-Ahead / Classic

Musicians: John Beasley (piano, rhodes, synthesizer), Bennie Maupin (tenor and soprano saxophone), Brian Lynch (trumpet), James Genus (electric and acoustic bass), Jeff Tain Watts (drums), Munyungo Jackson (percussion)

Review:
There are rare instances in any art expression when all the elements gets together to create a piece of art that borders on perfection. When a good painter or sculptor get that moment of inspiration or when a good script, director and actors coincide in the creation of a movie classic.

John Beasley Grammy nominated album Positootly is a good example of what happens when masters instrumentalists, the kind of instrumentalists you rarely find outside of Jazz, gets together. This is what Jazz is all about, quality musicians creating memorable, quality music.

All the elements that makes Jazz a form of music like no other are here.

a. Creative, virtuosic musicians with a high level of technique and artistry. This is really a superb trio with John Beasley on piano, James Genus on bass and Jeff Tain Watts on drums. With equally superb special guest, Bennie Maupin on sax, Brian Lynch on trumpet and Munyungo Jackson on percussion.

b. Complex harmonies, like the re-harmonized, exquisite version of Jobim's Dindi.

c. Polyrhythms and rhythm variations, like the tempo changes on Black Thunder and Eight Winds. All of this wrapped up in the wonderful compositions and arrangements of John Beasley.

Positootly means, absolutely positive, and that is precisely what Beasley delivers on this album, crisp, highly energized, swinging, positive music.

There is the good energy of the first track Caddo Bayou, with music that keep your feet tapping, and powerful trumpet and sax improvisations. The intense playing and intricate arrangements of Astor Piazzola Tanguedia III. The funky groove of Bobby Timmons So Tired, the echoes of New Orleans music on Shatita Boom Boom and the lyricism of the bluesy piece Elle.

John is truly an amazing pianist, imaginative composer, creative improviser and arranger. And with Positootly he created an album that people will look back as one of the first Jazz classic albums of the 21th century.

Tracks: Caddo Bayou, Positootly, Dindi, Black Thunder, Shatita Boom Boom (Club Desire), Tanguedia III, Elle, So Tired, The Eight Winds, Hope Arkansas

Record Label Website: http://www.resonancerecords.org

Artist's Website: http://www.beasleymusic.com

Reviewed by: Wilbert Sostre

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Wilbert Sostre