Saxophonists Dino Govoni and Hilary Noble star in Whaling City Sounds' two latest releases. Both feature the kind of sultry sophistication and edgy execution for which the fledgling imprint is fast becoming known. Govoni, who has been perfecting his artistry on both the Boston-New York scenes for two decades, is following up his debut as a bandleader, Breakin' Out, with the live jazz of his new disc In The Library. Boston's Noble, an adventurous saxophonist and percussionist with an Afro-Cuban perspective, steps up as a bandleader for the first time after a credible career as a sideman.
Govoni's new In The Library is not only the title song on his new album, it refers to the place where the musician does his best work. Accompanied by Henry Hey on piano, Bob Kaufman on drums, and Mike Pope on bass, Govoni stretches out with a plethora of urbane and melodic grooves, all recorded live. The saxophonist is an intimate and inspired instrumentalist as well as a skilled arranger, allowing In The Library to sound exciting without losing its warmth and personality. On bold tracks like the opening In Your Absence," bassist Pope's Munk, Not Monk," and the stirring title track, Govoni and the boys prove that chemistry is everything, with lengthy and creative improvisations and extrapolations. It's no question that In The Library builds on Govoni's reputable swagger as a player, as he makes his way towards becoming a premier leader among saxophonists.
Also building on his reputation is Hilary Noble, a longtime sideman who has long awaited his opportunity to step into the spotlight. Noble does so with verve on the new Noble Savage, an Afro-boppin extravaganza heavy on the Latin propensity for percussion and Noble's sonorous saxophone. Noble's choice of material-enhanced by the accompaniment of percussionist Bobby Sanabria, pianist John Di Martino, horn player Charles Neville (of New Orleans' Neville Brother Band), and bassist Boris Kozlov-is infused with a vast and colorful spectrum of sounds and composers. Jelly Roll" is inspired by Mingus, who in turn was inspired by the pianist of the same name. Rumb'azul" is a simple, melodic foray into Noble's open and refreshing approach to Afro-Cuban sounds. Terra Australis" is Noble's nod to Australia, his ancestral home, while Dream Dance," an Andy McWain composition is understated and gorgeous.
These two Whaling City Sound releases further the reputation of this small label as a fine purveyor of sophisticated sounds. With their strong and visionary artists and daring approach to the jazz idiom in Dino Govoni's In The Library and Hilary Noble's Noble Savage, Whaling City Sound is, like its artists, establishing itself as a label of the present and the future.
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