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Repercussion by Mike DiRubbo

Not only does everybody have to be someplace, everything comes from someplace. Getting specific, NYC alto saxophonist Mike DiRubbo is an acolyte of the late great alto icon Jackie McLean but he’s no imitator/knockoff, or one of these 1980s-type "jazz suits" that’s intent on reliving an idealized past (i.e., Blue Note and Prestige circa 1954-1966). DiRubbo has a wide, hearty sound and a tart, acidic tone similar to/inspired by that of McLean, but his style of spinning-out elegance, yet pointed improvisations, is closer to that of Art Pepper (Ah, imagine if McLean and Pepper had recorded together.... but I digress). Also, DiRubbo has a touch of "the romantic" McLean was a lot of (great) things, but I don’t think he’ll go down in history as one of thegGreat romantics of the sax just listen to the way he caresses the melody (occasionally adding just a touch of joyful swagger) on the too-short "Highbridge Lullaby." (Why’d it fade-out so soon?) DiR can get edgy with ease (without going all histrionic), such as on the controlled burn of "Nightfall."

Another thing making Repercussion stand out from hundreds of other assorted hard/post bop releases is the absence of piano. Instead, Steve Nelson plays vibes with a slightly brittle, more-dense, less-buoyant tone, with faint echoes of Milt Jackson and Blue Note--era Bobby Hutcherson. The rhythm team of Dwayne Burno and the late Tony Reedus is tight, forceful (without being overbearing) and on-the-money throughout. Further, DiRubbo & company doesn’t trot out the same old overdone standards they could've played in their sleep this set of nine tunes contains seven memorable DiR originals. While not a masterpiece, Repercussion is one darkly dazzling gem of an album.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Mike DiRubbo
  • CD Title: Repercussion
  • Genre: Straight-Ahead / Classic
  • Year Released: 2009
  • Record Label: Posi-Tone Records
  • Musicians: Mike DiRubbo (alto saxophone), Steve Nelson (vibraphone), Tony Reedus (drums), Dwayne Burno (bass)
  • Rating: Four Stars
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