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Lorenzo Lombardo: Black Nile

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Drummer Lorenzo Lombardo’s kindred crew of bassist Cameron Brown, pianist Gary Versace and saxophonist Dick Oatts turns in eloquent takes on well-chosen jazz classics. On the lone trio number, a mambo-inflected version of Thelonious Monk’s “San Francisco Holiday,” Versace comps with an appropriate element of surprise before taking a bristling solo, and Brown and Lombardo add wonderfully melodic improvisations. Oatts joins the band on flute for a hauntingly beautiful rendition of Dizzy Gillespie’s “Con Alma,” then switches to alto sax for two other Monk numbers: an uptempo romp through “Rhythm-A-Ning” and a jaunty stroll through “Ba-Lue Bolivar Ba-Lues Are.” Black Nile also includes faithful renditions of Wayne Shorter’s reflective “Ana Maria” and his boisterously swinging title composition, along with a deeply soulful reading of Gillespie’s most poignant ballad, “I Waited for You.”

Originally Published