Jazz, Boogie & Deja Blues
2012 / Summit Records
Review by Kathy Parsons
As one of the original artists signed to the legendary Windham Hill Records label, Scott Cossu has always been classified as a New Age pianist even though he is one of the most versatile musicians around. After nineteen years with Windham Hill, the label was sold and Cossu moved to Alula Visions for the next nine years. With his rich and diverse musical background, Cossu has always pushed the boundaries of what many people think of as New Age music, seamlessly crossing over into jazz, contemporary classical, and various ethnic musical forms. Cossu enjoys incorporating jazz, blues, and boogie pieces into his concert performances, demonstrating some of his most influential roots as well as his jaw-dropping virtuosity. For Jazz, Boogie & Deja Blues, Cossu has assembled eleven dynamic toe-tappers that give listeners the pleasure of a full album of this part of his musical personality. Nine of the tracks are covers and two are originals. In addition to Cossu on piano, musicians include Van Manakas on acoustic and electric guitars, Steven Banks on drums, Dan O’Brien on bass, and Ann Lindquist on flutes. You would be hard-pressed to find another album that does such a great job of expressing the pure joy of making music. Playful and full of fun, this is great music that can be savored on many levels.
Jazz, Boogie & Deja Blues begins with Horace Silver’s “Nutville,” a high-energy piece that includes stellar solos by Manakas, Lindquist, and Banks. “Sayonara Blues” (also by Silver) cools it down to a slinkier pace that heats back up as it evolves, again allowing Manakas to shine. “Moira” is the first of Cossu’s original compositions and one of my favorites. It begins with a rather mysterious and exotic intro before bringing in an intoxicating rhythm and driving beat. “Old Man Mambo” (Billy Taylor) adds a Latin flavor to the mix. If you can keep your feet still - especially during the percussion/drums solo - you might check to see if you still have a pulse. “Kansas Ditty” (Stanford King) has a wonderful walking bass while Cossu chews up the rest of the keyboard with his right hand. I really like this one, too! I love Cossu’s “Deja Blues,” my favorite track and pure joy set to music. Everyone gets a chance to solo while the driving pulse propels the music up and away. “Nostalgia In Times Square” (Charles Mingus) also really cooks with more great flute, harmonica, and guitar licks; oh, and the piano guy is pretty good, too! Things get rocking even harder with “JD’s Boogie” (Jimmy Dorsey), a high-energy piece that starts out in high gear and never backs off. Cossu’s piano and Art Patience’s harmonica are astounding. “Boogit Brother” (Stanford King) brings the album to an end with some quintessential cool blues. A standing ovation is deserved by all of the musicians on this great album!
If you are looking for music for meditation, Jazz, Boogie & Deja Blues probably won’t do the trick, but for almost an hour of joyous, energetic, and unbridled musical fun, check it out! It’s available from Amazon.com and
SummitRecords.com. Very highly recommended!
May 22, 2012