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One Way/Detour by Bob Albanese Trio with Ira Sullivan

Pianist Rob Albanese and saxophonist Ira Sullivan join forces on One Way/Detour, supported by bassist Tom Kennedy and drummer Willard Dyson. The title of the album is an oxymoron, two words that are complete opposites as "one way" refers to having only one option and the term "detour" meaning having an alternative route. This theme of presenting oxymorons that are a part of life is scattered throughout the album like in the song titles of "Major Minority," "Morning Nocturne," "Joyful Noise," "Midnight Sun," "Friendly Fire," and the group’s cover of Thelonious Monk’s "Ugly Beauty." The group interprets human stories into music form on One Way/Detour showing that oxymoron themes are indeed an integral part of life, and even make people’s lives more interesting by breaking through those moments of static existence.

The album unfurls with the jolly canter of "Major Minority" looped in arching bass lines and twittering keyboard patterns, which shift into a daydreamy aura in "Yesterday’s Gardenias" wafting leisurely in dusty saxophone puffs and loosely tied beats. The bopping motions of Albanese’s piano keys in the title track lay the foundation for the bulging drum strikes and bass lines which grope up and down the music scale. The group is astute at creating lush harmonies, always working with each other and moving in the same direction like in the samba thrusts of "Morning Nocturne" sprinkled in gleeful keyboards squats. The group also has a proclivity for making happy sonic creations, which tell stories based on oxymoron themes.

The buffed acoustics of "Joyful Noise" have an elegant strut with candle-light flickers permeating from the glittery piano keys, while the anxious tempo of "Waiting For Louis" is fitted with rapidly skittering keys and clanking drumbeats as the center remains a steady calm like the eye of a hurricane. Albanese tells in the liner notes that "I wrote this tune while I was waiting for my son to be born." The group’s interpretation of Thelonious Monk’s tune "Ugly Beauty" displays their technical approach to making choices for their arrangements. Albanese enlightens the listener in the liner notes that the 7th interval in the lower register is mirrored in the upper register as the group implements a Locrian natural 2 scale. The result stimulates the finer senses in the listener, another recurring theme throughout the album. The group’s cover of Lionel Hamilton’s "Midnight Sun" is powered by a soft shower of piano keys over the lounging rhythmic strokes which are transformed into a fiery trail of drum strikes along "Friendly Fire." No matter how boisterous or sedate the group sounds, their pieces are always amenably phrased and fitted harmoniously.

One Way/Detour allows the group to indulge in creative juxtapositions that implement symmetrical patterns and opposites that compliment each other’s traits. Albanese’s previous experiences working with ensembles in jazz, Latin, World, classical, and theater categories came through on One Way/Detour exhibiting a non-prejudicial judgment about where to take the arrangements. Though the album is streamlined for a straight-ahead jazz format, the group exhibit’s a breadth of freedom that is inspiring and makes people want to re-think any prejudices they have may about straight-ahead forms.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Bob Albanese Trio with Ira Sullivan
  • CD Title: One Way/Detour
  • Genre: Straight-Ahead / Classic
  • Year Released: 2009
  • Record Label: Zoho Music
  • Tracks: Major Minority, Yesterday’s Gardenias, One Way/Detour, Morning Nocturne, Joyful Noise, Ugly Beauty, Waiting For Louis, Midnight Sun, Friendly Fire, More Friendly Fire
  • Musicians: Rob Albanese - piano, Tom Kennedy - bass, Willard Dyson - drums, and special guest Ira Sullivan - tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone, alto flute and percussion
  • Rating: Three Stars
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