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Charlie Mariano - Mirror (2012)
Artist: Charlie Mariano
Title: Mirror
Year Of Release: 2012
Label: Atlantic/WEA/Warner
Genre: Post-Bop, Free Jazz, Jazz-Funk
Quality: FLAC (image+.cue,log,scans)
Total Time: 35:53
Total Size: 250 MB

01. Himalaya (Mariano) - 5:56
02. Shout (Mariano) - 2:22
03. F Minor Happy (Mariano) - 5:12
04. Theme from Summer of '42 (Legrand) - 5:05
05. Mirror (Mariano) - 8:35
06. Vasi Bindu (Raindrops) (Mariano) - 5:36
07. Madras (Mariano) - 3:06
Charlie Mariano - alto saxophone (#1-3,5,6), soprano saxophone (#1-3,5,6), flute (#4), bass flute (#4), nagasuram (#7)
David Spinozza - guitar
Pat Rebillot - electric piano, organ
George Mraz - string bass
Tony Levine - electric bass
Ray Lucas - drums
Airto Moreira, Ralph MacDonald - percussion
Asha Puthli - vocals (#5)
Charlie Mariano's MIRROR ranks with the best JAZZ ROCK ever recorded! I'm dead serious. If you love Zappa's GRAND WAZOO, Embryo's ROCKSESSION, Return to Forever's NO MYSTERY, or Mahavishnu Orchestra's BIRDS OF FIRE, then you WILL LOVE THIS ALBUM! I've been a fan of Mariano's sax playing, as well as his world music-jazz fusion for awhile, even tho I never looked into buying any of his solo albums. CHARLIE MARIANO started out playing with Mingus (Black Saint and the Sinner Woman). Then, he moved to Europe, and started to play with various bands there, in particular EMBRYO. (Check out Embryo's 1972 album WE KEEP ON, as well as SURFIN, or BAD HEADs and BAD CATS.) Not only does Charlie play Sax with Embryo, and on MIRRORS, he plays bass flute and nagasauram, a type of indian reed instrument. His mastery of not only western jazz on the sax, but india scales and talas, creates a style which fuses not only jazz and rock, but also the sounds of India.
MIRROR is his masterpiece. First, consider the band: TONY LEVIN on BASS. Levin played with King Crimson from 1982 until recently, as well as with Peter Gabriel's early solo albums, and a ton of session work. DAVID SPINOZZA on Guitar. David played on John Lennon's MIND GAMES, as well as Yoko Ono's solo work, and McCartney's RAM. PAT REBILLOT on electric piano, played with everyone from Herbie Mann to Hall and Oats. AIRTO MOREIRA on Percussion. Airto got his name playing on Mile's BITCHES BREW, LIVE EVIL, and helped formed both WEATHER REPORT and RETURN TO FOREVER. His solo albums on CTI records are brazillian rock jazz fusion, and are funked up. The drummer is Ray Lucas. Anyway, this band just gells, rocks, grooves, and does everything a band CAN do. The album opens with HIMALAYA, a nice mid tempo jazz rock number, that trades fours between the bass line and the sax for the head. Not only does Mariano's sax sound fantastic, he merges with the band on some metaphysical level. He's in the pocket, yet plays out JUST ENOUGH to keep his lines from sounding smooth, or contrived. As his solo ends and David Spinozza picks up the lead on guitar, you'll want to stop time to hang on every note. Next comes SHOUT, a jazz blues number, that helps create the kalidascope of jazz styles on the album. F MINOR HAPPY works as a funk jazz song, tho also sounds a LOT like Zappa's work from 1973 as well. However, NOTHING on this album sounds dated, or passe. Spinozza's guitar solos sound as if they could have been lifted from a MEDINSKI MARTIN AND WOOD album. Next comes THEME FROM SUMMER OF '42, where Mariano switches to BASS FLUTE. The ribato tempo, keyboard arpeggios, and perfectly placed percussion overdubs, slows the pace way down. His bass flute lines are introspective, and contemplative. Yet the song completely lacks saccharine production, or bland orchrestration. Tony Levin's bass playing keeps the song rooted deep and cool. Next, MIRROR (the song) starts out with some free jazz sax riffs, before settling into its head and slow groove. The magic here? ASHA PUTHLI's vocals, layered inside the mix, and not on top. Check out how she harmonizes with herself, while the sax plays in tandem with the vocal lead. This song defies definition, tho free jazz-blues rock-soul music, MIGHT come close. Spinozza's guitar leads move from jazz to blues twang, often in the same line. And, the keyboard solo on this song will sooth the soul, and amaze you all over again, with how the band mutual empathy. VASI BINDU starts out with some nice keyboard tonal riffs, not unlike Bill Evans on BLUE ON GREEN. Here's another song that's mostly ribato, until about two minutes in, when it hits a sort of groove, as Tony Levin stops bowing his bass, and lays down the law, with a nice, open, spacey bass line. Some of his lines sound lifted from Mingus. As always, Mariano's sax is impeccably tasteful. Airto's percusssion overdubs provide the colors that create the movement. If this song reminds me of anything, I'd link it to one of the slow numbers by WEATHER REPORT's early period. Finally, MADRAS is world fusion jazz, in the best sense of the word. Mariano's ability to get a legitamitely Indian sound from the nagasauram is impressive to say the least.

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Charlie Mariano - Mirror (2012)
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