Call it old school but the sweltering mélange of jazz, funk, and soul that characterizes pianist/keyboardist Mike DiLorenzo's new album Bring It Back defines timelessness. The early '70s was a golden age for R&B music as artists as diverse as Curtis Mayfield, Marvin Gaye, and Stevie Wonder adopted elements of jazz and filtered them through a pop framework, creating infectious, raw streetwise rhythms that lit dance clubs on fire. Their influence was so extraordinary that it can be felt throughout the decades, from the watered-down disco during the Carter administration to today's acid jazz and hip-hop. What DiLorenzo accomplishes here is exactly what the title promises: a glorious return to the past.
Indeed, DiLorenzo has produced a smashing flashback. DiLorenzo's swinging piano and Frank Elmo's spirited saxophone on Keep That Same Old Feeling" already generates substantial heat at the beginning of the album. Say Word" continues the album's spirited grooves, highlighted by Vinnie Cutro's stinging trumpet. One of the best cuts on the record is Let's Get Busy," wherein DiLorenzo's swirling synths have that irresistibly retro vibe. It is pure bliss.
Based in New York, DiLorenzo has been playing the piano since the age of 7. A well-respected sideman, DiLorenzo has performed with artists such as Whitney Houston, Bo Diddley, and Tisha Campbell. In addition to his original compositions, Bring It Back includes covers of songs by Earth, Wind & Fire, the Spinners, and even Fred Astaire. Norman Durham of the pioneering funk act Kleeer even contributes vocals on several tracks including the aforementioned Keep That Same Old Feeling."
At a time when many musicians are merely sampling old records, DiLorenzo is actually composing new music with that classic flavor. What seems like a nostalgia project is actually a continuation of vintage brilliance. DiLorenzo does more than Bring It Back; he keeps it relevant.
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