Jazz Institute of Chicago

The Rich Corpolongo Quartet: Smiles

The Rich Corpolongo Quartet: Smiles

Rich Corpolongo is a multi-reed instrumentalist; he plays soprano and alto saxophones, clarinet and piccolo with equal dexterity. He one of the few who can play both "outside and inside" equally well—with all of the harmonic control and lyricism of bebop plus all the fire of the free avante guard. He is also a composer who has distilled everything from the blues to Charlie Parker and Coltrane to Stockhausen into his work.

On this, his second Delmark recording, he is surrounded by like-minded musicians: pianist Larry Luchowski, bassist Eric Hochberg, and percussionist/drummer Mike Raynor. The program is a set of courageous originals benefited by daring performances that hit the mark.

The album begins with "Expressivo" with Rich playing soprano like an angel. "Experiment" follows and mixes jazz with modern contemporary music (reminiscent of something Bartok could have written for jazz piccolo—a very successful experiment! "Nancy's Blues" shows us how much music a quartet can give us through with its counter punctual theme and great solos. Then Rich gives us an alto solo on the blues that covers 50 years of saxophone history, yet is still completely his own. This album never bogs down and sustains interest through the last note on "Smiles."

No need to hesitate on this one, this is one of the finest modern jazz recordings one can find. It will interest you in different ways on different days for many years to come.—MV

Available on Delmark Records, www.delmark.com

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