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Movin Up by Joe Ascione

Drummer Joe Ascione delivers a laid-back set of toe-tapping swing on Movin' Up, a leisurely reading of poignant excerpts from the American songbook. With the help of pianist/vibraphonist John Cocuzzi, bassist Frank Tate and clarinetist Allan Vache, Ascione, a veteran of the New York music scene, explores his affinity for no-nonsense, straight-ahead jazz.

The title track, an original blues composed by Ascione, sets the pace for the session with Tate's crisp walking pulse and Cocuzzi's in-the-pocket comping. The remaining selections represent the lyrical side of songwriting greats like Cole Porter ("So in Love," "True Love" and "Get Out of Town"), George Gershwin ("Love Walked In," "Sumertime"), Ray Noble ("The Touch of Your Lips") and Lennon/McCartney ("Norweigian Wood"). A disc highlight is "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah's Got Rhythm," Ascione's clever melding of the classic Disney melody over the form of Gershwin's "I Got Rhythm." Here the quartet is able to stretch out with exceptional swing-meets-bebop, up-tempo blowing.

Vache's clarinet is simmering throughout with characteristic warmth. His rich tone is infectious, especially on "Love Walked In" and "Get Out of Town." Cocuzzi, a double threat on piano and vibes lends his vocal crooning skills to Ervin Drake's "It Was a Very Good Year."

Movin' Up is so full of feel-good grooves and soulful solos, one might experience difficulty removing it from the CD player.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Joe Ascione
  • CD Title: Movin Up
  • Genre: Straight-Ahead / Classic
  • Year Released: 2008
  • Record Label: Arbors Records
  • Rating: Three Stars
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