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Album Review: Destinations
John Gatti
Cover image of the album Destinations by John Gatti
John Gatti
2011 / John Gatti Music
61 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
From the cover, one would assume that John Gatti’s Destinations is a solo album, but is it? Each track sounds like a band made up of piano, keyboards, percussion, and a wide variety of other instruments and voices, but no other artist credits are given. That only leaves one explanation - that John Gatti is a one-man band. Further exploration of the liner reveals that this is the case. Wow! How does one jazz musician keep the music so loose and free yet completely in synch? The only answer to that question is pure artistry, and it’s truly amazing. Destinations is comprised of thirteen original compositions inspired by places Gatti and his wife have visited over the years, and the music spins a mood of joy and unbridled fun. From funky jazz to steel drums to Latin stylings and more, the album provides more than an hour of great music. I listened to it four times in succession while driving from the SF Bay Area to the Oregon Coast the other day and absolutely loved it with the volume cranked up and my sunroof wide open.

Destinations begins with “Cotton Candy,” a funky piece with a great beat and laid-back style. Inspired by a vendor at Yankee Stadium, piano, percussion, voices, and guitar provide the perfect groove to get this set started. “Watermelon Summer” conveys the easy spirit of getting away for some time by the ocean. If you can keep still while listening to “Old San Juan,” you’d better check your pulse! A high-energy piece with a spicy Latin flavor, I love this one! “Cast Away” takes us to the Caribbean and the joyful sound of steel drums. “Jet-Glider” has a more synthesized sound and ambient feeling, suggesting the wonder of falling water, air, sky, and freedom. “Saltimboca” is a lively piano and percussion tribute to New Orleans - another piece that makes it impossible to sit still - also a favorite. “Struttin’ Around Pines Lake” brings back some easy funk and synth scat singing (how’d he do that?) backed by a strong drum beat, organ, and bass guitar. “Tomorrow’s Showers,” for Seattle, WA, is a slow groove for piano, percussion, and synth - very soothing and relaxed. “Cooling Down” (San Francisco) is the epitome of West Coast Cool (although it was composed for Joyce Cooling and her husband). Piano, percussion, bass, and synth washes make this an easy-going and addictive gem. “Pepe’s Dancing Feet” (Atlanta, GA) brings the album to a close with a celebration of good friends, good food, and fun. It just doesn’t get any better than this!

Destinations is a fantastic album to lift the spirit and to celebrate life. I expect it to be one of my favorites for the year. It is available from Amazon, iTunes, and CD Baby. Very highly recommended!
May 7, 2011
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Kathy's Favorites: 2011