As they say, nothing is really new in jazz these days. It’s all been done before and what remains is for upcoming generations to interpret and add to the tradition with their own voices. Drummer Mike Melito’s MY CONCEPTION certainly offers nothing new in terms of innovation, but if we are to embrace the history of the music and welcome those with a new voice and new interpretation then certainly this stylish set of standards can be deemed a winner.
A mainstay on the Rochester scene and a veteran with past performance credits including work with James Moody, Joshua Breakstone, Joe Locke, and Chuck Mangione, Melito has put together a set of pieces taken from the hard bop tradition, including Sonny Clark’s title composition and works from Blue Mitchell, Wayne Shorter, and Kenny Dorham. Working with the well-oiled trio of pianist Paul Hoffman and bassist Paul Gill, the front line partners (tenor saxophonists Ralph Lalama and Grant Stewart, plus trumpeters John Sneider and Joe Magnarelli) mix it up on various tracks.
The arrangements throughout the set are functional and the overall mood is not unlike that of a typical Criss Cross date. As for Melito, his drums are superbly tuned and rendered in the recording with just the right mix and balance. In addition, his chops are impeccable and the relative poise and fluidity that marks his performance makes it all sound so easy. In the final analysis, Melito proves to be a talent deserving of wider recognition and when it comes to interpreting the mainstream, he does it just about as good as anyone else out there.