Jazzitalia - The Joe Baione Sextet at Iridium Jazz Club
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The Joe Baione Sextet at Iridium Jazz Club
by Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
New York - August 11, 2009

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Joe Baione Sextet
Joe Baione on Vibraphone
Jorge Castro on Tenor Saxophone
Marshall Gilkes on Trombone
Toru Dodo on Piano
Marco Panascia on Bass
Aaron Walker on Drums

Iridium Jazz Club
1650 Broadway, Corner of 51st St, NYC
Manager: Scott Barbarino
Media: Jim Eigo: jazzpromo(at)earthlink.net

Joe Baione Sextet
Courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower

Joe Baione and his Sextet opened the second set Iridium's tonight with his composition, "Superhero". It took off with feverish Swing, energized and melodic. Both Jorge Castro and Marshall Gilkes took solos on sax and trombone, shifting the lead from Baione's vibes. Brief blasts of brass emphasized the highest notes, before Marco Panascia took the tone down a few notches on his acoustic bass. Then Toru Dodo seized the moment on piano with an improvisational interpretation of Baione's theme. The effect was rapid and resonant, on the heels of Baione's return to his vibes, and the piece ended with some higher, atonal chords. "Hot Mama", filled with Latin clavé, included a sultry trombone and Mambo-Rhumba rhythms. This was one of my favorite pieces, warm and tropical on a midsummer's night.

"Down Fuzz", Baione's arrangement of a Lem Winchester piece, was melancholy and poignant. Baione held the vibe mallets close to the vibes, controlling tone and volume for enhanced sound. "Down Fuzz" was presented with slower, deliberate, repetitive refrains. An Americana folk motif was hinted at in Winchester's composition. "The Stranger" included exotic brass elements, like a film noir score, as Castro took the theme and built momentum. Gilkes infused energy with a trombone solo, taking the melody deeper and fragmenting it with twists and turns. There were Middle Eastern intonations, thanks to Baione's pulsating vibes, reverberating with glowing echoes. Piano and vibes created a chordal conversation, and Aaron Walker, on drums (a percussionist to watch), deliberately melded Latin to exotic with fascinating results. Gilkes took us on a wild trombone ride, before the piece ended, as did Dodo, showcasing his keyboard skills, energetically expanding on the theme.

"Remembering Reland", a tribute from Baione to his wife's grandmother, was filled with "Old World", European melodies and motifs. The final notes faded into space. The late set ended with Baione's title song from his recent CD, "Oh Yeah!!", a jazzy, breezy, racy, rambunctious piece. Castro took the lead from Baione's vibrant vibes, and a hot, seamless Swing emerged, expanded by Walker's superb and extensive percussive solo. Throughout the set, Panascia, on bass, added thematic riffs and instinctive rhythms that enhanced each composition with a rich, buoyant beat.

Marco Panascia, Joe Baione, Aaron Walker
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

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Publishing Date: 04/10/2009

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