Bill Cunliffe's "Imaginacion" Live! CD Party on June 18th 2009 at Upstairs, Vitello's New Jazz Room with Bill Cunliffe's Septect!


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Reservations 818-769-0905

Grammy Nominated pianist/composer Bill Cunliffe will perform his CD Imaginacion with Bill Cunliffe-piano, Kye Palmer-trumpet, Ramon Banda-drums, Joey De Leon-percussion, Bob Sheppard-Sax, Francisco Torres-trombone, John Belzaguy-bass.

$15 Cover Complimentary Wine Tasting 6:30 p.m. Show 7:30 p.m. & 9:15 p.m.

Imaginacion review by Dan McClenaghan, All About Jazz

Bill Cunliffe loves a good melody. He's recorded a couple of sets of Reed Kotler's beautifully lyrical tunes, Tomo (Torii, '05). In this offering, Imaginacion, the pianist/arranger wraps some melodies—his own and a few classics—in a strong Latin vibe.

The expanded lineup on the CD, featuring two trombones, two trumpets, and a reed player, plus piano and bass, along with three percussionists, offers more harmonic possibilities, and Cunliffe has a genius in this arena, crafting lush washes of sound over the percolating percussion.

Five of the tunes here are Cunliffe originals, and the covers are well-chosen: Steely Dan's “Do It Again," the American Songbook classic “How High The Moon," and a gorgeously cool take on Irving Berlin's “Heat Wave," featuring the gentle freon caress of Bob Shepard's flute work—a highlight for this listener. And of course, there's a Reed Kotler tune (Kotler produced the disc): the spicy closer, “Flying High." The Cunliffe-penned “Chucho" (for Cuban piano great Chucho Valdes, a logical guess), cooks with one fine solo after another—a trumpet soaring out of horn interplay, then Bob Shepard's tangy soprano sax, followed by a belt-it-out trombone turn, over—always—the ebullient percussion.

This is the type of recording that earns Grammy nods—beautiful and perfectly crafted tunes without a weak spot to be found. Perhaps the next review of a Bill Cunliffe's record will say “Grammy Award-winner" on it.

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