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Joe Deninzon

Trio – Exuberance

Review by Gary Hill

I like anything Joe Deninzon is involved with. Whether it’s his project Stratopheerius or his solo albums or his new jazz trio, Deninzon brings a musical integrity that just makes stuff shine. This album is a definite example of that. He combines classical music with jazz, world sounds and some rock to produce something that’s exceptional. I know, I’ve included it in progressive rock. For my money, any time you meld classical and jazz with rock music (and there isn’t a lot of rock here, but there is some) it’s progressive rock. This is quite a tasty release with both originals and some intriguing covers.


This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2010  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Bodhisattva

I love Steely Dan, so when anyone covers one of their tunes, I think it’s great. Deninzon and company put in a killer performance. I love the violin soloing on this. At times the violin lends a world music air, at other points it makes me think of country music. Still, this jazz trio arrangement is quite tasty.

Heaven Beside You
A more pure rock song, this one is quite cool. Mind you, I’m talking in terms of the original being more pure rock. This rendition is very much in keeping with the jazz and world music sounds we heard on the opener.
Nuages
A cover of a Django Reinhardt piece, this strikes me as closer to classical and world music sounds, especially early on.
Exuberance, In the Face of Utter Anguish and Despair
The title track is more of a rocking number. Still, it works through a number of changes and moves into the more intricate and sedate at times.
Ellipsis
I like this a lot. It’s quite involved and very classical like. It’s a highlight of the set as far as I’m concerned.
Night Coast
This one’s very much a pure jazz number. Each member of the group finds a chance to shine, often at the same time. It’s a cool cut that has a real groove to it.
Sun Goes Down
Another that’s more traditional jazz, this even has a delicate female vocal. It’s a pretty tune.
Surreptitious Soliloquy
This has a definite world music meets jazz sound to it. It gets pretty energized later.
Wichita Lineman
An old chestnut, this gets an intriguing reworking. I have to say I like this a lot and I’d consider it another highlight of the set. It’s got a neat, emotional texture to it.
The Last Days of Scorpio
There’s a lot more energy and swing to this piece, yet it’s still got plenty of classical music built into it. There’s quite a healthy helping of rock music, too, though.
Chopin Nocturne in Eb Op 9 No. 2
You wouldn’t know that this was a classical piece from this arrangement. They turn in more of a traditional jazz treatment, although it does have some classical sections.
Jitterbug (Used To Be A) Waltz
A playful piece, this is pretty traditional jazz trio fare. It’s a great tune, though.
The Tourist
A more gentle and rather classically oriented piece, this is pretty and quite tasty.
 
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