Jazz Classics Redone

Bruce Von Stiers

Some people have a passion for something, then have to set that passion partially aside for obligations. That happens quite a bit in the music world. People will begin building on their passion for music, only to set that aside for family and work obligations. That's pretty much what happened to Joe Mongelli. He had a passion for music that took him through college and graduate studies. But, as the saying goes, life happened. Even though throughout the years Joe composed, played and recorded, he couldn't focus all of his energy on his music. But now Joe is able to focus entirely on his music. He has recorded an album that is sure to delight both fans of contemporary jazz and those who love the old standards from the Great American Songbook. Throughout the album, you will hear Joe playing the trumpet and flugelhorn.

Joe's album is titled WashAshore. He produced the album and it is being self-released. It was recorded and engineered by Jon Evans. Jon has worked with Tori Amos and Vanessa Carlton among other artists. There are ten songs on the album with a play time of seventy minutes.

Helping out on the album are Fred Boyle, Ron Ormsby, Steve Langone, Bart Weisman, Alan Clinger and Bruce Abbott. Fred plays piano on the album and has worked with greats like Chet Atkins along with having his own group the Fred Boyle Trio. Ron is on bass and gigs as a member of Fred's trio. Steve and Bart share duties on drums. Steve has recorded with several top artists along with soundtracks from Sesame Street and other notable programs. Bart also helps out in Fred's jazz trio. Alan plays guitar on the album. Alan has worked with people like Christa Dulude. Bruce plays flute on one of the tracks on the album. His work includes the North Star Jazz Ensemble and Trio Vio.

The Duke Ellington classic I Got It Bad is the first song on the album. Joe's rendition has a bit of bossa nova overtone. There are great bass and drum solos in the song along with terrific flugelhorn and piano.

The Victor Young song When I Fall In Love has been recorded by such greats as Doris Day and Nat King Cole. It has also been recorded a lot as strictly an instrumental. On this album, Joe does a great job with the arrangement, which is has a slightly faster pace. The song has some nice piano and horn music.

Both Cilla Black and Dionne Warwick had hits with the Burt Bacharach / Hal David song Alfie. It has been done as an instrumental by artists such as Kenny G. Joe has his own take on the song. It is a soft and gentle, almost sad sounding rendition.

Instead of tenor sax and cornet like on the original version of the Sonny Rollins song, Doxy, Joe's rendition features great flute and trumpet playing. There is also some excellent piano and drums.

There is a certain ultra-cool groove that Joe added to the classic Herbie Hancock song Watermelon Man. Not only does the guitar and drums set up the groove, Joe tears it up with his trumpet and the piano solo is tough.

Beautiful Love is another Victor Young song. It, like the title, is a beautiful song. Soft and gentle guitar and horn music what the song is about. There is great bass and guitar in the song as well.

I couldn't help but tap my feet to the beat hearing Bag's Groove. This Milt Jackson tune is most well-known by the Miles Davis rendition. Like in the other Rollins song on the album, Joe plays a muted trumpet.

Till There Was You is best remembered from the song Shirley Jones sang in The Music Man, although it was covered by The Beatles. Joe does a nice job with a faster paced rendition of the song.

I don't know how many times I have heard Makin' Whoopie done on an album. Sometimes it's done exactly as the original composition. But other times, things are changed up a bit. Joe gives the song a little bit of boost with cupped trumpet. There is some excellent drum backing the trumpet and there are nice piano and bass solos.

Last up on the album is a medley of Where or When and Thought About You. Mixing a Richard Rogers song with a Jimmy Van Heusen one might seem a little different. But it is a slow and gentle mix that definitely highlights Joe's horn playing.

WashAshore is a pretty great jazz album. The reimagining of jazz classics is very well done by Joe and the other musicians.

WashAshore can be purchased on CD Baby.

The official web site for Joe Mongelli is http://www.joemongellimusic.com/ You can hear clips from the album on the site.


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© 2017 Bruce E Von Stiers