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Jim Rotondi Quintet: New Vistas

Jim Rotondi spent time playing with B3 organ master Charles Earland, but the presence of new generation organist Sam Yahel doesn’t mean New Vistas (Criss Cross) simply revisits the greasy grooves favored by the trumpeter’s former employer. With Chris Potter joining Rotondi on the frontline, the quintet combines grooves with more adventurous harmonic possibilities as on “John Force.” On “Blues Nouveau” the melody and clipped tempo take precedence over chord structure, inspiring Rotondi to unleash some extended 16th-note lines and squirts. Potter and guitarist Peter Bernstein both contribute a song to the session. Potter’s flowing “Assisi” is one of the highlights due to the textures it pulls from the quintet. Bernstein’s “Autumn Chill” takes off from “Autumn in New York” and turns it into a strong Latin 3/4 groove. Driven by drummer Bill Stewart, the quintet sounds equally at home on Buster Williams’ “Firewater” and Duke Pearson’s bossa nova “My Love Waits.” At moments like these, New Vistas sounds like a modern take on Larry Young’s albums like Unity, which is a very good thing.

Originally Published