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Reviews

Review Diz
NOVEMBER 2012
CD Reviews
Mike Longo
A CELEBRATION OF DIZ AND MILES —
Consolidated Artists Productions CAP1033. All
Blues; Con Alma; Milestones; OW; Freddie
Freeloader; Here Tiz’; Summertime; Tour De
Force; You Don’t Know What Love Is; So What;
A Night in Tunisia.
PERSONNEL: Mike Longo, piano; Paul West,
bass; Ray Mosca, drums.

By Eric Harabadian

This was a special night recorded live at the
John Birks Gillespie Auditorium in the NYC
Baha’i Center in June of this year. This performance
was part of a “theme” series and the trio
wisely put the spotlight on the music of Dizzy
Gillespie and Miles Davis—either compositions
written by them or recorded versions of standards
they had done. According to the liner notes
everything on the program was totally unrehearsed
and spontaneous. But I guess that should
be par for the course when you consider the
combined talents and experience of these fine
modern jazz gentlemen. This is jazz as it is
meant to be played—with love and from the
heart.

And the choice of tunes is a no-brainer
when you have a faithful treatment of Davis’
“All Blues” leading the pack. Longo begins very
reverent and reserved, with the melody and
rhythms played close to the vest. But it soon
opens up and the interplay between the three
evolves into lovely conversation. Longo blends a
textbook of runs and ideas that blossoms into
some sweet comping behind West’s bass solos.

“Con Alma” finds Longo beginning the piece
unaccompanied, playing a series of variations on
the head. He soon breaks atempo with the ensemble
diving into a smooth yet invigorating
samba. Longo really digs in and ornaments the
piece with gorgeous harmonies and rich chordal
accents. “Milestones” is appropriately vigorous
and driving in a swinging uptempo fashion. In
particular, Mosca’s cymbal work is crisp and
lively. This is the ensemble at its optimum where
communication between the three is firing on all
cylinders. Dizzy Gillespie’s “OW” is simple and
somewhat whimsical in its approach here. Again,
the rhythm section is huge as Mosca and West
both serve as springboard and platform for
Longo’s exhilarating and punchy melodic ideas.
Also, West steps out nicely, with a very lyrical
and bluesy solo.

Longo takes a laid back and respectfully
bluesy approach to “Freddie Freeloader.” He
isn’t in a rush and allows the head and subsequent
solos to develop and breathe. Building to a
crescendo he volleys to West who adds his own
variations on a theme before returning to a trading
fours duel and finale. The Gillespie tune
“Here Tiz’” is kind of similar to “Freddie” in its
straight ahead blues-based structure and is
equally gritty and compelling. “Summertime”
finds Longo playing with a relaxed patience and
subtle inner strength. The band is tight here;
really swinging and supporting Longo at his
most playful and inventive. The arrangement of
the Gershwin classic is wide open and comfortable,
just like a clear and warm summer night.

“Tour de Force” is a Gillespie composition that
is aptly titled for its, indeed, tour de force of
movement—from the driven descending chordal
punctuations from Longo’s piano to the fiery
swing of the ensemble at full tilt. Mosca takes a
nice solo turn here as well. Don Raye and Gene
de Paul’s lovely ballad “You Don’t Know What
Love Is” is a nice departure from most of the
hard and bluesy swing on the program. Longo is
certainly in his wheelhouse here as well offering
luscious slices of delicate melodic confections
and Errol Garner/Oscar Peterson-like lines. The
rhythm section proves just as versatile in their
sensitive support. They resume the up tempo
pace with Davis’ classic “So What.” The tune’s
simple yet sophisticated key modulated vamps
serve as a strong vehicle for tasty and captivating
improvisation. Again, Mosca’s cymbal work and
drive come into play. They conclude the show
with Gillespie’s brilliant “A Night in Tunisia.”
Longo pulls out all the stops here, bridging the
gap between bop and classical.

All in all, a truly magical night that was
superbly captured and produced by the great Bob
Magnuson. Click Here to Buy

Jazz Inside poll
DECEMBER 2012

JAZZ INSIDE’S TOP CD PICKS OF 2012

Clifton Anderson - And So We Carry On
(Daywood Drive)
Corina Bartra - Quartet
John Beasley - Brave Souls
Roni Ben-Hur & Santi Debriano-Our Thing
(Motema)
Jerry Bergonzi - Shifting Gears (High Note)
Dee Dee Bridgewater - Midnight Sun
Brian Bromberg-Compared To That (Mack Ave)
Terri Lyne Carrington - The Mosaic Project
(Concord)
Ron Carter - Great Big Band (Sunnyside)
Anat Cohen - Claroscuro
Ravi Coltrane - Spirit Fiction (Blue Note)
The Cookers - Believe (Motema)
Chick Corea-Eddie Gomez-Paul Motian - Further Explorations (Concord)
Chembo Corniel - Afro Blue Monk
Duduka Da- Fonseca - Samba Jazz - Jazz Samba
John Daversa - Artful Joy
Jack DeJohnette - Sound Travels (eOne)
Kurt Elling - 1619 Broadway (Concord)
Enfants Terribles – Konitz - Frisell - Peacock -
Baron (Half Note)
Wayne Escoffery - The Only Son Of One
Bill Evans - Live At Art D’Lugoff’s Top Of The
Gate
Michael Feinberg - The Elvin Jones Project
Amina Figarova - Twelve
Curtis Fuller - Down Home (Capri)
Tia Fuller - Angelic Warrior (Mack Avenue)
Kenny Garrett - Seeds From The Underground (Mack Avenue)
Grant Geissman - Bop! Bang! Boom!
Joe Gilman - Relativity (Capri)
Tim Hagans - Moon Is Waiting
Jeff Hamilton - Sparkle (Capri)
Tom Harrell - Number Five (High Note)
Brenda Hopkins Miranda - Simple
Tim Horner-The Places We Feel Free (Miles High)
Al Jarreau - Metropole Orchestra Live (Concord)
Keith Jarrett - Sleeper (ECM)
Stanley Jordan - Friends (Mack Avenue)
Manu Katché (ECM)
Mike Longo - A Celebration of Diz and Miles (CAP)
Lionel Loueke - Heritage (Blue Note)
Carmen Lundy - Changes
Branford Marsalis - Four MFs Playin’ Tunes
Mark Masters Ensemble - Ellington Saxophone
Encounters (Capri)
Christian McBride Big Band - The Good Feeling
(Mack Avenue)
Donny McCaslin - Casting For Gravity
Brad Mehldau - Ode
Pat Metheny - Unity Band (Nonesuch)
Marcus Miller - Renaissance (Concord)
Bob Mintzer - For The Moment
Wes Montgomery - Echoes Of Indiana Avenue
(Resonance)
Ninety Miles - Live At Cubadisco (Concord)
Jimmy Owens - The Monk Project (IPO)
Michael Pedicin - Live At The Loft
Luis Perdomo - Universal Mind
Gregory Porter - Be Good (Motema)
Scott Robinson - Bronze Nemesis
Alfredo Rodriguez-Sounds Of Space (Mack Ave)
Wallace Roney - Home (High Note)
Felipe Salles - Departure
Poncho Sanchez & Terence Blanchard - Chano
y Dizzy (Concord Jazz)
Woody Shaw - Woody Plays Woody (High Note)
Mark Sherman - L.A. Sessions (Miles High)
Wadada Leo Smith - Ten Freedom Summers
Gary Smulyan - Smul’s Paradise (Capri)
Luciana Souza - Book Of Chet
Esperanza Spalding - Radio Music Society
(Concord)
Mary Stallings - Don’t Look Back (High Note)
Mike Stern - All Over The Place (Concord)
Sumi Tonooka-Now (ARC)
Ryan Truesdell - Centennial: Newly Discovered Works of Gil Evans
Steve Turre - Woody’s Delight (High Note)
Manuel Valera - New Cuban Express
Elio Villafranca - Dos Y Mas (Motema)
Gerald Wilson - Legacy (Mack Avenue)
Mauricio Zottarelli - Mozik
This list is in alphabetical order by artist—and includes new recordings and re-issues.

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Gapplegate Music Review
Friday, February 15, 2013
Mike Longo Trio, A Celebration of Diz and Miles


Listening to Mike Longo and his new album, A Celebration of Diz and Miles (CAP 1033), I keep asking myself, "How is it that Mike has been basking in obscurity for a number of years?" I don't have the answer in this space and even if I did, the remedy is simple. Listen to what he is doing right now.

Here we have him and his trio, with Paul West and Ray Mosca, bass and drums, holding forth live at the John Birks Gillespie Auditorium of the Baha'i Center in New York, playing grizzled old classics associated with Diz and Miles, songs played to death, and yet Longo finds something very cool to say with them. That's jazz, right? I am not being flip.

"All Blues," "A Night in Tunisia," these are the classics that Diz and/or Miles played night after night back in the day, and of course Mike (with Diz) did, too.

To make them seem fresh, to solo with such imagination, who would expect it? Of course anyone who has followed Mike over the years. Some of us have lost track. Here is the chance to catch up. This is wonderful Longo.
Posted by Grego Applegate Edwards at 6:42 AM
Labels: mainstream classic jazz piano trio, mike longo trio's a celebration of diz and miles gapplegate music review

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THE NEW YORK CITY JAZZ RECORD | February 2013 29

The piano trio with bass and drums has a long
tradition in jazz, but Nat King Cole put a different
twist on it, substituting a guitar in place of drums,
inspiring Art Tatum and Oscar Peterson to follow suit.
There is still plenty of room for exploration in the usual
format, as heard on Mike Longo’s A Celebration of Diz
and Miles, but Junior Mance tries a different path,
adding a violinist, for The Three of Us.
Mike Longo has led many different sized groups
but is best known to most fans playing with a
traditional piano trio. For this 2012 concert from the
NYC Baha’i Center, he is joined by two veterans with
whom he’s worked often over the decades, bassist Paul
West and drummer Ray Mosca, playing a mix of songs
either written or recorded by Miles Davis or Dizzy
Gillespie. The beauty of this approach is that the
rhythm section was only handed the setlist just before
the performance, so there were no arrangements, just
pure jazz. The musicians also have a knack for
improvising without the need to stretch out excessively.
The evening begins with a sublime take on Davis’
“All Blues” and though no new ground is broken, it is
a marvelous interpretation with inventive variations.
Since Longo spent several years in Gillespie’s band, he
is well versed in much of the trumpeter’s repertoire.
He opens “Con Alma” by playing a virtuoso solo
introduction with plenty of flourishes before the
rhythm section joins him on his jaunty journey through
this jazz standard. “Ow” is a tasty blues that is more
often than not performed by horn players; Longo’s
whimsical rendition features West’s strong groove and
Mosca’s potent pulse. Longo’s left hand chording in
his take of the standard “Summertime” proves
infectious while he infuses “You Don’t Know What
Love Is” with a sense of heartbreak and drama in a
moving interpretation. The evening wraps with a
pulsating take of “So What”, followed by an equally
inspired “A Night in Tunisia”. The one minor gripe is
with the packaging, which omits composer credits,
even though many fans will know this information,
instead listing individual tracks of audience reaction. Click Here to Buy

For more information, visit jazzbeat.com
Longo’s Trio is at NYC Baha’i Center Feb. 26th.

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Music was our first love... and it will be our last...

NOVEMBER 2012

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review
DECEMBER 2012

MIKE LONGO TRIO SHOWS WHAT IS POSSIBLE WITH LIVE JAZZ IMPROVISATION

 

Lead

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Tags: piano, longo

What is the point of improvisation in music? Most fans like to hear musicians take the music to the limit, venture into new territories, or like a hang-glider, strap on the equipment, run to the edge of the cliff, jump off and see if they can sail to the bottom without making a mistake like smashing into a cliff. Improvisation is especially fruitful at a concert because it cannot easily be faked which makes it exciting, and it holds the audience’s interest because it sounds different than any previous studio recording. You may have attended those types of concerts where the band plays letter-perfect renditions of their hits and you wonder why you didn’t just stay home and listen to the record and save countless dollars. Also, the audience likes improvisation because it is “of the moment,” notes played in a sequence and at a speed that has never been done before, and probably will never be done again exactly like that. Jazz pianist Mike Longo once described it as “spontaneous composition.”

Speaking of Mike Longo, he has a new live album out that is almost completely improvised (except for a few introductory melody lines on each track). The CD is titled A Celebration of Diz and Miles and Longo takes some classic tunes from the catalog of those two horn legends and makes up completely new off-the-cuff arrangements in concert using a piano trio format (which is a bit strange since this material originated with larger horn ensembles). The end result is that the Mike Longo Trio (with Paul West and Ray Mosca) have created some fun, fascinating, frolicsome improvisational jazz that is not only worth hearing, but worth returning to again and again to spot and appreciate the nuances and to hear the far-out directions they head. To play this kind of improvisation, each player has to really listen to what the other two are doing, to be able to interact and support the others, but also to be able to move off in their own direction and still find their way back and still fit within what is happening overall. This is much more difficult than non-musicians can usually ever imagine. All of that happens on this recording, and more. This isn’t the best jazz album ever recorded, or anything like that. It is simply a very, very good representation of what jazz was, what jazz can be today and what live jazz should be. What more can we ask, really?

__________________________Click Here to Buy_______________________________________________________________

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MUSIC WEB EXPRESS
Interview Fla
JANUARY 2013z

THE MIKE LONGO TRIO
A Celebration Of Diz And Miles
(CAP)

 

On his 2012 CD, piano virtuoso and keyboard legend Mike Longo performs the music of Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis for jazz piano trio. Recorded live at the Baha’i Center in New York City on June 26, 2012, the 21 track CD, A Celebration Of Diz And Miles is an excellent instrumental music snapshot of Longo’s legendary piano skills in a jazz trio setting and the results are both timeless and spectacular. Commenting on paying tribute to these two legendary jazz artists, Longo adds, “With Dizzy and Charlie Parker came a new language. An organic change in music occurred and a new way of making melody was born. Miles was a disciple of this approach and developed his own unique way of expressing it. Nothing like this innovation existed before this breakthrough, and it is still not fully understood even today. Being around Dizzy and playing with him was pure magic! He was the most amazing human being I have ever encountered.” In the spirit of the finest sounding piano based live jazz trio albums,Longo’s grand piano is perfectly recorded, creating a sonic aura at times. Longo’s trio, including Paul West (bass) and Ray Mosca (drums) are totally in sync with the sparkling bop-jazz piano sound. Tastefully produced by Bob Magnuson and featuring the work of expert sound man, Al Perrotta, A Celebration Of Diz And Miles also features prominent CD packaging and informative liner notes by Mike Longo. www.jazzbeat.com


mwe3.com presents an interview with

MIKE LONGO


mwe3: Can you say something about where you were born and I know you came from a musical background and I also read you grew up in Ft. Lauderdale Florida which is right next to Pompano Beach. What was Florida like back then? When did you first come to New York and long have you now lived in the NYC area?

MIKE LONGO: I was born in Cincinnati, Ohio but my family moved to Ft. Lauderdale when I was 8 years old. I grew up there through high school. Back then Ft. Lauderdale was this little naval air station town and very rural. Downtown Ft. Lauderdale was the hub for all of the activity, with its waterfront on New River and the fleet of fishing boats and local cruise boats. There were two strip clubs—the club Aloha and the Doll House. This was the only place at the time where jazz was played. Groups would play the show for the strippers and then play jazz between the shows. Cannonball Adderley was the band director at Dillard High School and I met him at a jam session at the youth center in Hollywood. There was a local disc jockey by the name of Leonce Picou who had a midnight to 6 AM jazz show on WFTL. He had been putting on jam sessions in youth centers to help stem teen age drinking which was claiming a lot of young lives in DUI accidents at the time. My dad had a club date band, and I told him about Cannonball, and he began using him on club dates. Cannon got me and a drummer by the name of Pete Helmintoller, also a school mate of mine in the 10th grade, a gig with a rhythm and blues band led by a trumpeter named Harold Ferguson. We played up and down the coast on what they used to call the “Chitlin’ Circuit”. After graduation from Ft. Lauderdale High my dad asked Cannonball to recommend a college for me and he recommended Western Kentucky University because when he was in the army stationed at Ft. Knox in Louisville, Kentucky, he would travel to Bowling Green to study privately with Roy Harris, the composer, who was head of the music department there. After graduation from college I didn’t have a dime to my name, trombone player, Bill Bartell, recommended me for a gig with this trad band by the name of The Salt City Six out of Syracuse, NY. I walked off the stage with my degree in my hand and jumped into a car with my girlfriend who drove me to Buffalo, NY where I opened with The Salt City Six the next night. I toured with them for two years. A few times they would play the Metropole in New York where I made some friends. Finally on one of the Salt City Six gigs the Metropole offered me a position as one of their house pianists. I left the Salt City Six and stayed on at the Metropole for the next two years. I was playing a double shift as they had six bands a day working there, two downstairs during the day and another two at night and also another two on the second floor at night. I was working during the day with the older cats like Tony Parentti, George Wettling, Coleman Hawkins and Zutty Singleton from 2:00 in the afternoon until 8:00 PM and then from 10:00 PM until 4:00 AM with Henry Red Allen or Sol Yaged and sometimes Gene Krupa. I was staying at the Belvadere Hotel which was just around the corner. Just soaking up everything there was to learn from these musicians. I was the young kid on the block working with the old timers. While working there, an occasion arose when Dizzy Gillespie was playing in the Modern Jazz room on the second floor. When he would go on a break he would have to walk past where we were playing downstairs. I got a call from a bass player in Ft. Lauderdale a couple of months later asking me if I had seen the interview with Dizzy in the International Music Magazine. Apparently Dizzy was asked if he had heard any young musicians that impressed him and he mentioned me. While working there trumpeter Jimmy McPartland asked me to play two weeks with him in Chicago at a place called Bourbon Street. I went and while there met Oscar Peterson at the London House. He heard me play and asked if I would like to study with him. I jumped at the chance and spent the next six months in Toronto as his student. I returned to New York in 1961 and have lived here ever since.

mwe3: Can you say something about the significance of both Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis on the jazz world and the world of 20th century music? Some listeners and musicians alike who weren’t born during their lifetimes might not have yet discovered them yet.

MIKE LONGO: With Dizzy and Charlie Parker came a new language. An organic change in music occurred and a new way of making melody was born. Miles was a disciple of this approach and developed his own unique way of expressing it. Nothing like this innovation existed before this breakthrough, and it is still not fully understood even today. It has deep spiritual, psychological and physiological significance and the ability to transform people, who listen to it and understand it, into an alternate universe kind of existence.

mwe3: Performing with Dizzy Gillespie when you were younger must have been amazing. How would you describe Dizzy as a musician and as a friend of yours, what was his personality like? Also where would you recommend that newcomers start to discover Dizzy’s music on record and video and what are a few of your favorite albums by Dizzy and Miles?

MIKE LONGO: Being around Dizzy and playing with him was pure magic! He was the most amazing human being I have ever encountered. He knew something the rest of us need to find out about, as I never saw him depressed. He was a creature of joy every waking minute of his life. As a musician he was a profound genius in touch with a certain aspect of Divinity. For newcomers I would recommend listening to an album called For Musicians Only featuring Diz with Sonny Stitt, Stan Getz, Ray Brown, Herb Ellis and Stan Levy. Also check out a recording called The Gifted Ones with Dizzy and Count Basie. It is listed as a Count Basie recording but pay particular attention to a track called “Constantenople”. Dizzy On The French Riviera is another enjoyable experience and one that I am on called Swing Low Sweet Cadillac. With Miles I think Kind Of Blue is a must as well as the collaborations he did with Gil Evans. Also I would recommend Birth Of The Cool.

mwe3: What were the events that lead to you recording and recently releasing your new CD with The Mike Longo Trio, A Celebration Of Diz And Miles and can you say something about working with CAP Records, and how long have you been involved with that legendary label?

MIKE LONGO: It wasn’t a planned recording. I run a weekly jazz series in the John Birks Gillespie Auditorium in the NYC Baha’i center and about every 5 weeks or so I perform there with one of my groups. I have the big band known as the NY State of the Art Jazz Ensemble. I also have a funk band and my trio. We have noticed of late that theme based concerts draw larger audiences so I decided to do a tribute to Diz and Miles on June 26th, 2012, with my trio. Bob Magnuson, the lead alto player on my big band, has professional recording equipment and decided to record the concert. It came out so well that we decided to release it on CAP. I have been involved with CAP since 1979. It started out as a very small label but now has grown to a catalog of over 150 releases. The great thing about CAP is it leaves the entire creative control to the artists themselves. What you hear on a CAP recording is exactly what the artist wanted you to hear, unlike many labels who have producers, some of who are failed musicians, trying to make creative decisions as to what an artist should record and how it should be recorded.

mwe3: You recorded your Celebration Of Diz And Miles album at the Baha’i Temple in on 11th street in Manhattan and in the CD liner notes you single out the Yamaha C1 Baby Grand piano as being essential to the making of the CD. Can you say something about that piano, what about the C1 sound that is so captivating, as well as discussing your other pianos that you enjoy performing and recording on. Are some pianos better for live concerts and others better for recording? My dentist had an office on the 11th floor in the Steinway building on 57th street overlooking Horn & Hardart. I guess Steinway owned the whole building. Steinway is certainly an amazing story.

MIKE LONGO: Actually, I am a Steinway artist and have been for about four years now. It just so happened that a couple by the name of Kate and Rich Weisman donated the Yamaha C1 to the jazz series at the Baha’i center and that is why it is on my recording. I have recorded often on Steinways, not to mention Baldwins as well. I think people make a mistake, generally, in the questions posed here because a pianist’s touch is a very personal thing relative to his or her identity and often times these qualities are attributed to the piano being played instead of the source of the tone produced by the individual’s touch. For example you could take the exact same instrument and after a few notes identify that as Bill Evans or Erroll Garner, or Oscar Peterson, etc., even though they all are playing the same instrument.

mwe3: Speaking of the album recorded at the Baha’i center, what was it that got you interested in the Baha’i religion and what led to your “Jazz Tuesdays” series? Is it still ongoing and do you play every week, what are the set lists like from week to week?

MIKE LONGO: When I first went with Dizzy the country was in the grips of a social crisis. Race riots were happening as the civil rights movement was taking shape. At the time, to my knowledge, I was probably the only caucasian musician working in an all black group. Things got pretty scary at times and I even got hit with a bottle on stage in a concert in Pittsburgh. Dizzy and I became close friends along with James Moody and me. Dizzy shared my belief that things didn’t have to be that way between whites and blacks and concluded that there had to be another way. When Diz found out about the Baha’i Faith it turned out to be “the other way” for him as one of their primary goals was race unity. He started to turn me on to their literature and on the day after Martin King was assassinated Diz declared himself a Baha’i. It took me another five years to accept the faith and then I declared as well. After Dizzy passed away in 1993 I recalled how back in the 1960s there used to be this loft scene in New York whereby the upper floors of industrial buildings were being converted into concert venues where people could hear jazz at nominal fees. The music could go on into the wee hours of the morning since they were not in residential areas but commercial areas. I recall a bass player by the name of Jimmy Stevens had a loft down in Soho where he would have jam sessions. I played there all night from about 8:00 PM until 11:00 AM the next morning with George Coleman, Chuck Mangione, a drummer by the name of Vinny Regerio and the bass player from Lionel Hampton’s band by the name of Benny. We would do that on a regular basis just to practice and play together with no audience. Just five musicians groovin’. I began thinking in 2004 that there must be a way to have something like this today as it is really needed. The musicians weren’t playing enough and the prices in the major jazz clubs, due to the high rents, were out of reach for the average jazz fan. It suddenly occurred to me that the Baha’i Center had this beautiful 160 seat theater within it that was being used on occasions to hold religious services but for the most part being unused. I approached the Baha’is about starting a weekly jazz series in Dizzy’s name and convinced them to officially name the theater the John Birks Gillespie Auditorium. They thought it was a great idea since both Dizzy and I were Baha’is. I got permission from Lorraine Gillespie to use Dizzy’s name and the series started on January 6th, 2004, the one year anniversary of Dizzy’s death and ironically the birthday of Lorraine Gillespie, his widow. We have been operating ever since. One of my three groups performs there about every 5 weeks and the other weeks I book other world class jazz artists there. The set lists are entirely up to the musicians performing and all the proceeds from the box office go directly to them.

mwe3: One thing that really stuck out in my mind after hearing the Celebration Of Diz And Miles CD was the amazingly well recorded sound which was quite clean and distortion free. What was the recording process like and what role did producer Bob Magnuson have in the making of the album?

MIKE LONGO: As I mentioned earlier Bob Magnuson is the lead altoist on my big band but is also one of the most successful studio musicians on the New York scene. He is also a producer and runs his own jingle production company out of his office and is quite skilled with recording techniques. It should also be mentioned that the sound of the recording was also due to the skills of Al Perrotta who did the mixing and mastering. He and Bob collaborated on my last three releases. Al was with Tony Bennett’s son’s studio in New Jersey until it closed recently and now works on a freelance basis. He is a master of his craft as is Bob Magnuson. Also Bob is a great musician and can hear the music properly and knows how to record it to get it heard as it was intended.

mwe3: How did you go about deciding what tracks you would record on the CD from the repertoires of both Dizzy and Miles? Did you have some parameters during the making of the album and what other “Celebration” series albums might you consider releasing in the future?

MIKE LONGO: As I said earlier, we did not intend to make an album. I just picked some of the tunes they wrote or recorded that I like to play, I gave the bass player and drummer a list, and we counted four and started blowing. I am toying with an idea to do a Wayne Shorter tribute album as he is one of my favorite composers.

mwe3: Can you say something about your upcoming 4 DVD instructional series The Rhythmic Nature Of Jazz and when will is be released and what company is putting it out? Are you still involved in teaching and what courses do you most enjoy teaching?

MIKE LONGO: I have two new DVDs out now called The Rhythmic Nature of Jazz Vol. I and II. There will eventually be four volumes and they are based on the rhythmic concepts I learned from Dizzy which are profound. They are available at www.jazzbeat.com. They are also put out by CAP. I teach privately three days a week from my studio in New York when I am not on the road. I am also on the faculty at Sarah Lawrence College. I have a variety of students, most of them pianists. I also have horn players, bassists, drummers and singers as well who study the jazz concepts I teach. I also teach composition and arranging. I teach everyone differently depending on their needs. My approach is to ask myself, “What is this person trying to do and how can I help them do it”, and we proceed from there.

mwe3: What are some of your other interests outside of the music world?

MIKE LONGO: Music consumes most of my time but I do enjoy bass fishing as a hobby. I am also a football and boxing fan and watch games and sporting events frequently on TV.

mwe3: What are some of your upcoming plans in 2013 as far as writing, recording and also performing music?

MIKE LONGO: I am planning to do a kickstarter campaign to help fund a recording of my big band. Since our last recording I have written over 30 charts that have not been recorded as of yet and would like to see this come about. I am performing with the big band this coming Tuesday, 01/22/13 at the John Birks Gillespie Auditorium in New York and then on the following Saturday, 01/26/13 at Trumpets Jazz Club in Montclair NJ. On February 26th I will be performing with the trio doing a concert of “The American Songbook” at the Gillespie Auditorium and we are also playing a concert in April at Rockafeller University in New York. I will be doing some traveling on my own as well as I frequently do master classes and concerts at different universities with groups comprised of the students there. I play several times a year with either the big band, trio or funk band at the Gillespie auditorium as well. So far in 2013 I have composed two new compositions and arrangements that we are performing this coming week and I have jotted down notes on different motifs I plan to incorporate into large scale works for the large ensemble throughout the year. I will also be recording another trio CD this summer with Bob Cranshaw and Lewis Nash. All in all, it is shaping up to be a pretty busy and creative year.


Thanks to Mike Longo @ www.jazzbeat.com Click Here to Buy

 

 

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NATIONAL NEWS BUREAU
Review
John Shelton Ivany's Top CDs of the Week
Online and Syndicated
FEBRUARY 2013

THE MIKE LONGO TRIO
A CELEBRATION OF DIZ AND MILES

"A Celebration of Diz and Miles" is a work of unique art by pianist Mike Longo and two jazz comrades, as they celebrate in a live setting two trumpet players, Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie.  Longo is a reckless experimenter
with an ear for forlorn beauty, creating shape-shifting tracks of incorporate beats, nature, atmospherics, fern-bar, R&B and free-jazz, often on top of each other.

-- John Shelton Ivany

 

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The Mike Longo Trio: A Celebration Of Diz and Miles

This is the fourth CD of the Mike Longo Trio I have discussed here, and again I found the music suitable for lovers of traditional jazz.  The Mike Longo Trio consists of Longo on piano, Paul West on bass, and Ray Mosca on drums with production by Bob Magnuson.  Mike Longo started in 1966 as the pianist for Dizzy Gillespie, after Longo had been discovered by the young Cannonball Adderly.  Later Longo studied with Oscar Peterson.  On this live CD, Longo honors two of the greatest jazz trumpeters of all times, Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis.  The most remarkable aspect of this album is that the music is completely intuitive as well as 99% improvised. The trio did not even rehears it, but just got on the grandstand with a list of tracks.  "I just showed up with a list of tunes. Even the intros and endings are improvised," says Mike Longo.  "We had not even planned to do an album, but at the last minute my producer, Bob Magnuson, decided to record it."  The action took place in the John Birks Gillespie Auditorium in the Baha'i Center in New York City and this is live jazz.  This is the second time Longo has recorded some of these tunes (previously on his studio recordings or with Gillespie).  Note the main tracks: “Milestones,” “Summertime,” “So What” and “A Night in Tunisia.”  Free-wheelin ', deep-exploratory, impulsive, instinctual live jazz.

-- Patrick Van de Wiele (3)

[online translators utilized]
Click Here to Buy
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Jazz corner
DECEMBER 2012

LONGO PIANO TRIO FLYING IN THE NIGHT WITH LIVE IMPROV

Under-rated jazz pianist Mike Longo, who has been making great music for well over half a century, found a new twist for his latest CD, a live recording called A Celebration of Diz and Miles, which serves as tribute to these two great horn players (Gillespie and Davis) that Mike played with, but also as a platform for some excellent post-bop piano trio improvisation.

Longo cracks me up sometimes. Not his music, but what he says. I have been reading his bios for the past half-dozen years or so, and I love what he has to say about his music and jazz and other players. For example, in talking about this recording, and the Miles Davis tunes “All Blues” and “Freddie Freeloader,” Longo says about the first: “Playing multi-part Bach fugues in college helped prepare me to do this,” and about the second: “a simple melody with a deep, deep groove like Picasso drawing a masterpiece with just a few lines.” I have to give you two more examples. Regarding Gillespie’s classic “A Night in Tunisia,” Mike states: “I played it so many times with Dizzy that it was challenging to come up with a different approach here, so I embraced a sort of call-and-response with myself in the solo followed by an atonal cadenza.” Talking about Miles’ “So What” Longo quips: “A Great, great tune from Kind of Blue that was a turning point for Miles as he moved from diatonic to modal music.” I love that stuff. I’ll bet you could ask Longo about any jazz musician or tune in the book and he would come up with some pithy saying like that. What a cat.

Turning our attention to the disc at hand, it is so cool to hear a trio like this (Paul West, bass, and Ray Mosca, drums) walk on stage and tackle fairly well-known tunes with no rehearsal or charts, just a free-flowing, swinging, trade-the-solos-back-and-forth style that represents what I love in jazz, especially live jazz. You can usually identify the melody briefly at the beginning of each tune, and sometimes somewhere within the meat of it, but most of the time the trio is just out there flying in the night, winging their way over the treetops, pushing the improve to the edge of the cliff and then abruptly turning away from the edge of disaster at the last second.  It makes me realize how difficult it is to write about this type of music that encompasses just three instruments, a basic song theme and then six, seven or eight minutes of free improv.  But the music is a pleasure to behold. Click Here to Buy

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review
DECEMBER 2012

A Celebration of Diz & Miles

by Mike Longo Trio

review 
Fans will know that Mike Longo studied under Dizzy Gillespie and jammed onstage with Davis during shared club dates in New York City (three-sets-a-night for nine-weeks) in 1969 and 1970. So it seems very appropriate that he would do an album that pays tribute to two of the greatest jazz trumpet players of all time. Joined by well-known jazz stalwarts Paul West and Ray Mosca, Longo maintains his remarkable ability to be intuitive yet improvisational -- a defining element of the best of jazz.

A Celebration of Diz & Miles was recorded live in concert at the John Birks Gillespie Auditorium at the Baha'i Center in New York City, and the album contains highlights from two completely different sets performed June 26, 2012. "Jazz audiences expect every concert, each set, to be something new, fresh and exciting, and my goal is to deliver that, " Longo states. "These tunes will never be played again exactly like they were that night." This long CD (21 tracks) is actually as much a celebration of improvisation as it is elegiac of two jazz giants and their unparalleled compositional abilities (and it includes a few cuts by composers the two themselves tributized: Gershwin and etc.). I have no doubt Diz and Davis were looking down from that Big Jam Hall in the skies and smiling from ear to ear on that day in New York. This is free-wheeling, deep-exploring live jazz at its best, with roots deep in the best of be-bop traditions, but always pushing into new territory.

Highly recommended.

~review by: Lisa McSherry

Artist: The Mike Longo Trio
Consolidated Artists Productions, 2012
CD, $11.97

 

by Mike Longo Trio

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good review
DECEMBER 2012

 

Longo Trio Live CD Is All Improvisation With No Rehearsals

If you have every come across any of Mike Longo’s recordings, you may know he has two sides to him. As a longtime jazz pianist with Dizzie Gillespie and other legends, Longo can write new music with charts for horn parts with much of the music written out and worked out. Or Longo can wave the green flag at his band and say go ahead and improvise within this framework I am giving you (whether an original piece or a jazz standard). Being able to compose and carefully interpret is important, but the absolute real mark of a true jazz master is to take a group onto a concert stage and just jam, just let the improvisation roll after the opening musical statement of each piece. This is what Longo does on his latest CD, A Celebration of Diz and Miles, where he and his trio tackle well-known material from the Gillespie and Davis canons. The originals, of course, featured Diz or Miles on trumpet (and sometimes a saxophone in those bands too). But here Longo interprets the material with just piano, bass (Paul West) and drums (Ray Mosca). Even though both of the rhythm players have played with Longo before over the years, this was their first time as a trio together, and according to the background materials, they had no rehearsals, but just went on-stage and winged it (and fortunately the tape was rolling, or the digital numbers were flashing, or however it was done). Supposedly there also were no overdubs, and you may hear a few flaws or some wildness here and there, but that is part of the experience. Apparently Mike picked a tune and the band plunged in with Longo laying down the basic melody line, and then all bets were off. Each guy had to listen to what the other was playing and feed off that and offer something of their own back into the mix. It is a credit to the abilities of these guys that they didn’t fall or nosedive, but gave the audience (and now us) thrills and chills with the band’s improvisational explorations. Longo does the most soloing, of course, but West gets quite a few moments in the spotlight, and there are a few short drum solos too. There is no point in listing all the great tunes covered here because most of the music really does not represent these tunes as they were originally recorded by Davis and Gillespie. Just think of this CD as one of those ultimate jazz experiences where you walk into a small nightclub, a jazz trio gets up on the stage and starts to swing, and you hear something fresh and new. In the 1966 surfer movie, The Endless Summer, director and narrator Bruce Brown said: “We don’t know what the waves were like the day before we were there, or what they were like the day after we were there. But the day we were there, they were just perfect.” We don’t know what the Mike Longo Trio sounded like on previous live gigs, or what they sounded like the last time they performed. But on the night this CD was recorded in 2012 in New York City, the Mike Longo Trio was perfect.

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BLUEWOLF
              REVIEWS
JANUARY 2013

A Celebration of Diz and Miles - Mike Longo

Written by Janet Mawdesley

http://bluewolf-reviews.com/media/k2/items/cache/218fa54275e0e31c37b4e5091d9112ba_XL.jpg
As a celebration album of two of the better known Jazzmen of their times in Dizzie Gillespie and Miles Davis, Mike Longo and the boys have created a tribute to the art form of Jazz.

Recorded live at the John Birks Gillespie Auditorium, Longo gave West and Mosca a list of the pieces to be played for the duration of the concert just before they went on stage and ergo - three masters of their craft have delivered an album which is totally unique as it performed as improvisation.

Deep and introspective as only Jazz can be, especially when the musicians have been performing in one medium or another in the genre for decades, they have develop that subtle smoothness which rather than played, almost oozes with a deep rich texture that underlines the incredibly fine art of being able to follow the lead, in this case Longo on piano, wherever the music goes.

As the album was recorded live the audience reaction has been included on the album which gives the listener the impression of being at the concert, joining in the pleasure of being able to follow the rhythm wherever it takes you.

Favourites such as Here tiz’, Freddy Freeloader and of course Summertime (my all-time favourite) have come to life once again under hands of craftsmen.

Settle into your favourite chair, dim down the lights, grab a good glass of red and sink into the art of improvisational jazz delivered by three experts in the craft beginning with All Blue and ending with A Night in Tunisia.

Additional Info

  • Artist(s): Mike Longo Trio with Paul West and Ray Mosca
  • Publisher: CDBaby
  • Website: www.CDBaby.com

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review 1/22/13
JANUARY 2013

Jazz CD Reviews

The Mike Longo Trio – A Celebration Of Diz And Miles – Consolidated Artists

A tribute to two of the most important figures in modern jazz.

The Mike Longo Trio – A Celebration Of Diz And Miles – Consolidated Artists
Buy this product on Amazon.com
The Mike Longo Trio – A Celebration Of Diz And Miles – Consolidated Artists Productions CAP 1033 76:58 ****:
(Mike Longo – piano; Paul West – bass; Ray Mosca – drums)

Mike Longo knows his way around the piano. With a cool disposition and a clear technique he leads his trio through a set of compositions, either written by or associated with two of the most important figures in modern jazz: Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis, and does them proud.

Recorded live at New York’s Baha’i Center’s John Birks Gillespie Auditorium, the audience was treated to a wholly unrehearsed concert with only a pre-determined set list to guide the band. Longo had been an important member of Dizzy’s quintet for nine years starting in 1966, and then had an ongoing musical tie to him for a further period. Thus he knew as much about his music as anyone. This shows in his interpretations of Dizzy’s material as it abounds with the requisite structural constructions associated with his compositions. Whether it’s “Con Alma” “Ow” or “A Night In Tunisia” Longo deftly engages each composition with a sure-footed approach as he develops attentively firm phrases that are undeniably in the moment.

Perhaps of more significance however, is the treatment Longo offers for the Davis-associated compositions. Whether they were structurally more interesting because they offered a different cadenced and harmonic facility than the Gillespie tunes, Longo seems to be more attuned to these pieces. Starting with “All Blues”, the band spins out the theme into its component parts to give it a consistency that is highly effective. “Milestones” and “So What” are delightfully rendered confirming that Longo is a sophisticated pianist who has a firm foothold in modern jazz. Bassist Paul West and drummer Ray Mosca continually offer persuasive support, although on some tracks West appears to be over-miked giving some unpleasant reverberations.

A Celebration Of Diz And Miles is delivered with verve and is a tasteful and lively outing.
TrackList: All Blues; Con Alma; Milestones; Ow; Freddie Freeloader; Here Tiz; Summertime; Tour De Force; You Don’t Know What Love Is; So What; A Night In Tunisia

— Pierre Giroux

Click Here to Buy

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review 
Fans will know that Mike Longo studied under Dizzy Gillespie and jammed onstage with Davis during shared club dates in New York City (three-sets-a-night for nine-weeks) in 1969 and 1970. So it seems very appropriate that he would do an album that pays tribute to two of the greatest jazz trumpet players of all time. Joined by well-known jazz stalwarts Paul West and Ray Mosca, Longo maintains his remarkable ability to be intuitive yet improvisational -- a defining element of the best of jazz.

A Celebration of Diz & Miles was recorded live in concert at the John Birks Gillespie Auditorium at the Baha'i Center in New York City, and the album contains highlights from two completely different sets performed June 26, 2012. "Jazz audiences expect every concert, each set, to be something new, fresh and exciting, and my goal is to deliver that, " Longo states. "These tunes will never be played again exactly like they were that night." This long CD (21 tracks) is actually as much a celebration of improvisation as it is elegiac of two jazz giants and their unparalleled compositional abilities (and it includes a few cuts by composers the two themselves tributized: Gershwin and etc.). I have no doubt Diz and Davis were looking down from that Big Jam Hall in the skies and smiling from ear to ear on that day in New York. This is free-wheeling, deep-exploring live jazz at its best, with roots deep in the best of be-bop traditions, but always pushing into new territory.

Highly recommended.

~review by: Lisa McSherry

Artist: The Mike Longo Trio
Consolidated Artists Productions, 2012
CD, $11.97


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MAGLE INTERNATIONAL MUSIC FORUMS

NOVEMBER 2012

Feed Your Jazz Improv Hunger With Mike Longo Not getting enough live jazz in your diet? Not getting out to concerts with solid, innovative, jazz improvisation that takes you to new places never heard on a record? Missing the excitement that jazz fans experienced in the good old days in nightclubs and concert halls where jazzsters took solos into outer–space and back, and each musician pushed the others forward?

No problem. Just check out the new live piano-trio recording by the Mike Longo Trio called A CELEBRATION OF DIZ AND MILES. This is improvisation of the top magnitude, and is especially interesting because they are translating classic horn-led large-band tunes into the new territory of a piano trio. But listen to how Longo pulls those classic melody lines onto the ivories and makes them fresh all over again in countless new ways. And there are plenty of solos from his partners – bassist Paul West and Ray Mosca. This is an on-stage jam session that will rock your socks off or swing your rings round. Here tiz the real thing. And you do not even have to pay for parking.

Click Here to Buy
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JAZZ SCENE NEWSLETTER
November 2012

A Celebration of Diz And Miles; Mike Longo, piano.

For the past nine years, the John Birks Gillespie Auditorium, in New York’s Baha’i Center, has presented a series titled “Jazz Tuesdays.” On this disc, the founder of the event, Mike Longo, has been captured live with trio mates Paul West, bass, and Ray Mosca, drums. As the title indicates, Longo and friends examine music either written by or closely associated with either Dizzy Gillespie or Miles Davis. The two of them, of course, are responsible for many timeless examples of bop and modal jazz. So, as one might imagine, it’s a treat to hear the trio blast off on “All Blues,” “Con Alma,” “Milestones,” “Freddie Freeloader,” “Summertime,” “So What,” “Ow” and “A Night in Tunisia,” among others. The jazz historians among you will rec- ognize Longo’s name from many years in Gillespie’s employment. So you can bet that Longo lays down these classics with abandon and total delight. These tunes hail from perhaps the most creative, incredible period of jazz history. We never tire of the Bachs and Beethovens of jazz, and it’s clearly a pleasure to hear them, one after another, in the hands of bebop master, Mike Longo.

Consolidated Artists Productions, 2012; appx. 71 minutes. Click Here to Buy

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OCTOBER 2012

The Mike Longo Trio - A Celebration of Diz and Miles
The Mike Longo Trio - A Celebration of Diz and Miles

The Mike Longo Trio

Available from Consolidated Artists Productions online store.
A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker

What could be more captivating than a tributary collection of tracks by Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis…done live…by a trio…that remains a trio…throughout the recording and doesn't add 101 other musicians in, keeping the sanctity of the threesome format whole and uncorrupted? Nothing, that's what. More, this CD is all live and recorded from a gig at the John Birks Gillespie Auditorium in the New York City Bahai Center. Mike Longo's been a mainstay in the jazz scene for a long long time, began studies with Oscar Peterson, and played with Cannonball Adderly way back when, while in high school(!). Later, he was inducted into Gillespie's band, and Miles looked to Diz as a mentor, so you can guess what kind of esteem fell upon any of the great man's players. In fact, not only did Mike play when Miles one time sat in with Diz, but Davis, listening to the brilliant twining of Dizzy with Longo during the band's dates, said "Man, it sounds like you cats got married!" Many men's fortunes have been made on praise a good deal less than that.
This long CD is actually as much a celebration of improv as it is elegiac of two jazz giants and their unparalleled compositional abilities (and it includes a few cuts by composers the two themselves tributized: Gershwin and etc.). So imbued with the influence of the pair he'd looked up to for so long is Longo that there can be little doubt Diz and Davis were looking down from that Big Jam Hall in the skies and smiling from ear to ear on that day in New York, 'cause Longo pulls out all the stops, ably backed by bassist Paul West and drummer Ray Mosca. His Con Alma even gets Jarrett-esque (who was, of course, a Miles alumnus before he went on to play solo).
Celebration is music you can sink your teeth into, all jaw-dropping chops, no filler, served with love, admiration, and five mountain ranges' tonnage of respect for the men who towered in a time of jazz geniuses whose like has yet to be quite seen again. I mean, even with the deepest appreciation of Corea, Jarrett, Hancock, Kenton, Marsalis, and others, the days of Miles, Diz, Ellington, Mingus, Monk, Kirk, Armstrong, Coltrane, Parker, and ilk mark a period that hadn't occurred previously, is absent now, and does not appear likely to crop up in the near future. This is jazz as jazz was created and my advice is that you get into it while the getting's good 'cause the intervals between events like this seem to be getting longer and longer. Click Here to Buy

 

World’s #1 Music Forum!
OCTOBER 2012

JAZZMAN MIKE LONGO TRANSLATES HORNS TO PIANO

Tags: jazzpiano, longo

If you have not listened to jazz pianist Mike Longo, now is a good time to check him out. His latest album is A CELEBRATION OF DIZ AND MILES, a new live jazz piano trio album that is a pleasure waiting to unfold in your ears.

Longo does what he has been doing a lot the past few albums -- doing piano trio versions of tunes that originally were recorded with much larger bands that featured either a horn section or a trumpet-playing frontman. It is always a pleasure to hear Longo on piano coming up with instantaneous arrangements of classic jazz material (in this case tunes written or recorded by Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis).

Completely improvised in concert with two of his old friends (bassist Paul West and drummer Ray Mosca) and with no rehearsals or charts, this music swings out of the old be-bop traditions and into modern jazz territory. Go online and do a search and find samples or excerpts to listen to of these fresh takes on tunes from two trumpeters whom Longo played with. Click Here to Buy

review
DECEMBER 2012

review
JazzMonthly.com Artist Spotlight
Mike Longo
On his second live trio album, A Celebration of Diz and Miles, jazz pianist Mike Longo pays tribute to two of the greatest trumpet players of all time, Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis. Longo played extensively with Gillespie for a quarter-century, and jammed onstage with Davis during shared club dates in New York City (three-sets-a-night for nine weeks) in 1969 and 1970.
It felt completely natural to me to do a piano-trio concert and a recording of music associated with Dizzy and Miles,” says Longo. “Everything Miles did was wonderful. If I had to pick one word to describe him, it would be “deep.” Dizzy was always pushing me to go further and learn new things. Sometimes in concert in the middle of my solo he would give me ideas by coming over and whispering a rhythm in my ear or pounding a tambourine right next to my head. Other times I would finish my solo and Diz would refuse to come in, and even if I felt I was running out of ideas, he pushed me to dip deeper and deeper into that creative well and bring out what he new I had in me.”
- Mike Longo Trio takes you down a path of magical spontaneity... truly captivating. -- JazzMonthly.com Click Here to Buy

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__review
2012

JAZZ PIANIST MIKE LONGO CELEBRATES DIZ AND MILES

Mike Longo has done it again. He has recorded a jazz piano trio album of the first magnitude, the highest caliber, top quality stuff through and through. His latest is a concert recording, A Celebration of Diz and Miles, with just what you would expect -- piano trio interpretations of tunes written or recorded by Gillespie and Davis. Who better to venture into this territory since Longo spent 25 years playing regularly with Dizzy, and also jammed several times in New York City with Miles. Longo is backed here by a luminous rhythm section -- Paul West on bass and Ray Mosca on drums. The music is all unrehearsed live improvisation which takes the music to the edge and gives it an immediacy and excitement seldom heard in an over-processed world. Dig it, especially Davis’ “Milestones” and Gillespie’s “Here Tiz’.”

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ÖSTERREICHS MAGAZIN FÜR JAZZ • BLUES • WORLD MUSIC • POP
DECEMBER 2012

Mike Longo Trio
A CELEBRATION OF DIZ AND MILES
****1/2
CAP vertrieb: www.jazzbeat.com


The title states the premise, and says it all!  Mike Longo has played the piano for 25 years at the side of Dizzy Gillespie, and Longo jammed during shared dates with Miles Davis in New York clubs for 9 weeks daily.  “All Blues,” “Con Alma,” “Milestones,” “Summertime,” “So What,” “You Don’t Know What Love Is,” and “A Night in Tunisia” are only some of the titles that are included on this CD.  When you consider with what materials these tunes are undertaken (a piano trio), the three musicians (Paul West on bass and Ray Mosca on drums) are fearlessly confronting the challenge ... hats off to them.  There are no long elaborate arrangements introduced by the three men, just "magical interplay,” we are assured in the liner notes. The musicians play in the bop tradition, but swing it sometimes easy to the beat.  This can be a little irritating, but this disc entirely gets your full attention with its innovative characteristics.


-jg

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The Entertainment Bank

DECEMBER 18, 2012

A Celebration of Diz and Miles - Live from the John Birks Gillespie Auditorium in the New York City Baha'i Center (The Mike Longo Trio)

By Paul Anderson
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-OKO6E4LgeSE/UNDVZlIpVnI/AAAAAAAAB3g/zlWwC8Wd82c/s1600/1+Mike+Longo+Trio.jpg
2012 is almost gone, but not without a few more exceptional CD releases. I just listened to a live 21 track program from American Jazz pianist, Mike Longo, who plays from the Classic Jazz Songbook, paying homage to in a place that honors the music and faith of John Birks Gillespie (a.k.a. Dizzy Gillespie). He was a proponent of the Baha’i faith, so the setting could not be more suitable. The inclusion of Miles Davis in this program doubles down on the Jazz legacy of two giant innovators whose careers began during the birth of Bebop and spanned several generations of the evolution of Jazz. Both are still as celebrated and appreciated today as they always were, if not more so.

Mike is joined by Paul West on the upright bass and Ray Mosca on drums, beginning with the Miles classic “All Blues,” which is a blues jazz waltz. The solo from Longo is a joyful performance, with solid lines and phrases. Paul West has a wonderful warm tone to his bass, and it shines through on his solo as well.

“Con Alma” is one of the great compositions from Dizzy. Mike Longo, on solo piano, explores the changes and melody, and the trio joins in with a playful samba rhythm. For all you Gillespie fans, this arrangement will bring a smile! The alternating of songs by Diz and Miles is a clever idea, and the gift, and purpose of what Dizzy wanted to accomplish in bridging cultures with Jazz are continued through Mike's work, Dottie Longo’s production, and Live Tuesday’s program, which has given us a great new CD! Jazz aficionados know that there's always a reason to celebrate Diz and Miles, and Mike Longo and Trio do it with style, grace, and passion!

Labels: Miles Davis Baha'i faith Dizzy Gillespie Ray Mosca Classic Jazz Songbook samba Mike Longo Trio Con Alma jazz Paul West Dottie Longo All Blues

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OCTOBER 2012

The Best In Jazz Improvisation Exhibited On New Mike Longo CD


The best of all jazz traditions is improvisation in front of a concert audience. The band-leader picks a tune and the group plays the main melody at the head of the piece and then, before returning to the melody line at the end, they branch off to explore possibilities –- counter-melodies, cross-rhythms and poly-rhythms, dynamic interplay between musicians and, of course, hot flights-of-fancy soloing, often by one musician after another. But the key ingredient for excitement is when it is improvisational, made up in the moment, instead of being charted, rehearsed, a replicated studio recording or worked out in advance. A great, great solo that you count on hearing a master musician play in concert every time is still only improvisation the first time he played it, and after that it is just a great solo that any good musician can copy.

The point is that if you want to hear great solos in the making, great improvisation as it happens, spontaneous creativity in a jazz piano trio setting, then you need to listen to the new CD by longtime jazz pianist Mike Longo (titled A CELEBRATION OF DIZ AND MILES). Longo played with both Gillespie and Davis back in the day. This heavily improvisational new live album consists of tunes associated with the two trumpet players, but it is interesting because of the improvisation whether you are very familiar with the material or not. There are some newly-revised classics on here like Miles’ “All Blues” and “Freddie Freeloader” as well as Gillespie’s “Here Tiz’” and “A Night in Tunisia.” Plus there are two non-original tunes that Diz/Miles covered, “Summertime” and “You Don’t Know What Love Is,” and those really lend themselves to the piano trio approach. This is a live album well worth checking out. Click Here to Buy

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A Springboard to Great Music

DECEMBER 2012

FEED YOUR JAZZ IMPROV HUNGER WITH MIKE LONGO

Lead

[-]

 

_Buzz Music

 

Not getting enough live jazz in your diet? Not getting out to concerts with solid, innovative, jazz improvisation that takes you to new places never heard on a record? Missing the excitement that jazz fans experienced in the good old days in nightclubs and concert halls where jazzsters took solos into outer–space and back, and each musician pushed the others forward?

No problem. Just check out the new live piano-trio recording by the Mike Longo Trio called A CELEBRATION OF DIZ AND MILES. This is improvisation of the top magnitude, and is especially interesting because they are translating classic horn-led large-band tunes into the new territory of a piano trio. But listen to how Longo pulls those classic melody lines onto the ivories and makes them fresh all over again in countless new ways. And there are plenty of solos from his partners – bassist Paul West and Ray Mosca. This is an on-stage jam session that will rock your socks off or swing your rings round. Here tiz the real thing. And you do not even have to pay for parking..._Buzz Music Click Here to Buy

a jazz listener's thoughts

DECEMBER 2012

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Catching Up: New and Recommended Music

I am never going to catch up with everything that I have heard in the past couple of months unless I create a short post listing a few of them with brief comments. Sorry for copping out, but I hope this is useful.
http://www.amazon.com/Celebration-Diz-Miles-Mike-Longo/dp/B009WQ7K8S/ref=sr_1_2?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1354301855&sr=1-2&keywords=mike+longoMike Longo, "A Celebration of Diz and Miles" (MLM Music/CDBaby 2012)

 A master pianist and his trio play it straight. Right down the middle -- a bullseye! Click Here to Buy

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Among the most overlooked top flight pianists in jazz is MIKE LONGO.  Give a listen to A Celebration of Diz and Miles (Consolidated Artists Productions – 1033) where  Longo is joined by bassist Paul West and drummer Ray Mosca for a live performance at the Baha’i Center in New York City.  The tunes are associated with Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis, and hearing this trio play them will demonstrate  why Longo deserves placement in the top tier of jazz pianists, and the recognition of all fans of the music.  Longo played piano and served as musical director for Dizzy Gillespie for several years, and had occasion to jam with Davis when both Davis and Gillespie shared club dates in New York City.  This album is a natural outgrowth of those experiences.  Other than “Summertime” and “You Don’t Know What Love Is,” the remaining nine tunes were composed either by Gillespie (“Con Alma,” “Ow,” “Here Tiz’,” “Tour De Force” and “A Night in Tunisia”) or Davis (“All Blues,” “Milestones,” “Freddie Freeloader” and “So What”).  The Trio is in fine form.  They have played as a unit many times over a long period, and were familiar with the material, so no rehearsals were needed.  Here are three musicians interacting and creating on the spot in a way that only superior jazz players can do.  It is exciting to hear, and satisfying to experience.  (www.jazzbeat.com)
…Joe Lang-Jersey Jazz
______________________________________ Click Here to Buy


Mike Longo Trio +2 "To My surprixe"

That name should ring more than a few bells and provoke an instant recognition of the prospect of top-flite jazz, 'cause Mike Longo's been at the game for a long time, starting out as Diz's pianist in '66 after being discovered as a teenager by Cannonball Adderly and later studying with Oscar Peterson in what was one of the the most grueling and rewarding periods of his life. That apprenticeship shows everywhere in this latest disc, To My Surprise, a CD loaded up with nothing but first-rung talent: Bob Cranshaw on bass, Lewis Nash on drums, Jimmy Owens on trumpet and flugelhorn, and Lance Bryant on tenor sax. That's it. No guest sit-ins other than that '+2'. No sweetening. Just a quinteted-up trio playing its extremely sophisticated brains out.


What you get is straight-up classic jazz. Not acid jazz. Not jazz lite. Certainly not a drop of The Wave's gooey saccharine breathily cloying sentimentality. Just good honest killer jazz, and God knows there's never enough of that. Owens and Bryant make a great horn section, bringing to the table a full slate of improv chops well based in the melody while sliding witty little embellishments all over the place, the kinda stuff that makes a grooved-out listener grin and softly exclaim "Yeahhhhhhhhh!!" And when they get through, Longo jumps right in, and I'm not sure I can properly categorize his style. You can definitely hear the Oscar in there as well as a quite decent amount of Herbie, but there are also touches of Evans and the swing of Guaraldi.


Bob Cranshaw's bass is the most rock steady of the group, buoying the gents with ample space and rhythm for their work while Nash is icy cool with his kit, complicated and engrossing without sacrificing duties to Cransahw in co-nailing the rhythm section down. And speaking of Herbie, these guys really do frantic justice to his Eye of the Hurricane, an unusually timed ditty of ever-changing shapes and outlines, twisting narrative and skewed linearity, Longo's left hand almost coming from another body, chordally jumping all around the right's dancing figurations. Appropriate, then, that the CD should close out with a bit of a tipsy take on In the Wee Small Hours as the bar closes down, we stagger to the door, and take a nice deep breath of the evening air, dreamily smiling at the good fortune of such a spate of excellent tunes.
And, heh-heh-heh!…A Picture of Dorian Mode. Chuckle! Good one, Mike, good one. Took me a minute to get it properly. Gettin' a little wild on Wilde and musical modalities. Nice!
by Mark S. Tucker


Track List:
A Picture of Dorian Mode (Mike Longo)
Still Water (Mike Longo)
New Muse Blues (Mike Longo)
Limbo (Wayne Shorter)
Alone Again (Mike Longo)
I Hadn't Antyone 'Til You (Ray Noble)
Old Devil Moon (Lane / Harburg)
Magic Bluze (Jimmy Owens)
To My Surprise (Mike Longo)
You've Changed (Carey / Fischer)
Eye of the Hurricane (Herbie Hancock)
In the Wee Small hours (Mann / Hilliard)
_____________________________________Click here to buy__________

THE STAR PULSE

DECEMBER 2011

JAZZ SURPRISES AWAIT ON LATEST MIKE LONGO CD

With every new recording, jazz pianist MIKE LONGO digs a little deeper. He loves to explore the internal rhythmic nature of jazz. And sometimes, when he and the band are really going into new territory, even Mike is surprised with the results (hence the CD title, TO MY SURPRISE).

If you like great jazz, this CD is well worth your time. Longo surrounds himself with great improvisers like himself: Bob Cranshaw on bass, Lewis Nash on drums, Jimmy Owens on trumpet and Lance Bryant on sax. You can tell the band is totally tuned into what each other is doing which was crucial because they recorded this CD live in the studio with no overdubs.

On “New Muse Blues” Longo writes a memorable little melody initially stated by the horns with great piano chording behind them followed by outstanding solos by the trumpet, saxophone and then piano. Another Longo original is “Alone Again” and one of those little surprises is a bit of Latin feeling in the piano solo’s chording rhythm, and then a little later the trumpet player Owens picks up on that and subtly uses it.
Some of the tunes Longo scales back to just trio such as on “Old Devil Moon” which originally came from the 1947 musical “Finian’s Rainbow,” but here is the weird thing. Miles Davis covered it in 1954 on his BLUE HAZE album and again two years later on his STEAMIN’ WITH THE MILES DAVIS QUINTET. Then Sinatra made it vocal again on his SONGS FOR SWINGIN’ LOVERS the same year. So who would expect this excellent piano trio version in 2011? While we are digging in the archives, let’s discuss the trio’s cover of another walk back in time, “You’ve Changed,” which was recorded by the Nat King Cole Trio in 1947, Billie Holiday in 1958, Sarah Vaughan in 1960, Ella Fitzgerald in 1966 and now the Mike Longo Trio in 2011 joining that stellar company with an outstanding instrumental version of that chestnut.

Longo’s CD has much, much more, and it all goes down easy, but is deep enough to require or inspire repeated listenings for all the subtleties to display themselves. Click here to buy
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JAZZ-52ND STREET
STREET TALK
DECEMBER 2011

LONGTIME JAZZ PIANIST MIKE LONGO
HAS A NEW ALBUM OUT

IT’S ALWAYS EXCITING WHEN JAZZ PIANIST MIKE LONG
RELEASES A NEW ALBUM

With every new recording, jazz pianist Mike Longo digs a little deeper into the chemistry of the music, pushing himself and his band to more fully explore the intricacies of the rhythmic nature of jazz, attempting to go to new places where surprising results await.  Longo named his new album To My Surprise in honor of those special musical moments that unfold.

To My Surprise, produced by saxophonist Bob Magnuson, features The Mike Longo Trio (with jazz stalwarts Bob Cranshaw on bass and Lewis Nash on drums) on a half-dozen tunes, and on the other six numbers the trio is supplemented with two special guests who are renowned horn players -- Jimmy Owens on trumpet and flugelhorn, and Lance Bryant on tenor saxophone.  The music features Longo’s tight-arrangements of both his original compositions and several surprising selections of outside material, brought to a flowering fruition by the band’s inspired and deep improvisational exploration.  The results are a stunning collection of acoustic modern jazz at its finest, rooted in the be-bop traditions of the past, but pushing into new territory, lessons Longo learned from studying with Oscar Peterson 45 years ago and playing with Dizzy Gillespie extensively for a quarter-century.

To My Surprise and many of Longo’s other recordings are available online at Jazzbeat.com and CDbaby.com as well as digital download sites such as iTunes, Rhapsody, eMusic, Amazon-downloads and many other online locations.  In addition, Longo is revered as a master jazz teacher (he has written numerous textbooks) and he is just releasing his second instructional DVD (The Fundamentals) of an eventual four-disc series titled The Rhythmic Nature of Jazz.  The first two DVDs are available at Jazzbeat.com.

“Sometimes you have to walk through a musical door just to see what happens,” Longo explains.  “Quite often when I try something completely new to me, it seems a bit strange at first, but then I am pleasantly surprised when it works.  I hope the listener feels the same way, even if it is on a subconscious level.  Sometimes the surprise is an unusual chord progression, or an unlikely layering of the melody line, or complex polyrhythms.  With my original compositions, it starts with a germ of an idea, a motif loaded with energy ready to move forward.  I build a structure around it.  Then I give it to the band, and in the studio the energy and excitement are added.  During the improvisational sections, it is just like each musician is composing as they go along.  If the structure is sturdy enough, the music can be performed live again and again changing with each performance.”

This new album showcases Longo’s always-evolutionary playing on a dozen tunes recorded “live in the studio, mostly first takes with the absolute minimum of editing” to capture the most spontaneous, rapturous, improvisational jazz possible (“We only had one rehearsal the day before to check song structure.”).  Longo worked with this same trio on his highly-successful last album (Sting Like a Bee went to #3 on the international Jazz Week airplay chart).  “Bob and Lewis are both from the same ‘polymetric school’ of playing where you can have more than one meter going on at the same time,” Longo states.  “With them and with the quintet there is a contrapuntal perfection between the musicians, plus a great action-reaction thing, a lot of spontaneous combustion with surprises going on.”  Longo has performed with Cranshaw, Nash and Owens numerous times in various settings over the years.  “Jimmy Owens and I first played together in 1968 in Dizzy Gillespie’s All-Star Band,” Mike recalls.  This latest CD is Longo’s first opportunity to play with Bryant.

On To My Surprise, the quintet tunes are original Longo compositions penned in the past year plus “Magic Bluze” which Jimmy Owens contributed.  “When I was writing the material,” says Longo, “I could hear the horns, so I scored some specific horn parts and also on each tune left sections for improvisational soloing.”  The recording kicks off with the highly-energetic (and tongue-in-cheek-titled) “A Picture of Dorian Mode” followed by the slow “Still Water” with the piano echoing the horn melody line.  On the title tune Longo took a left-turn by inserting a G-major-seventh chord (“that’s the surprise”), and it leads to Owens’ smooth trumpet solo followed by a rich-and-creamy sax solo by Bryant with the two horns playing different lines simultaneously near the end.

Not surprising to Longo fans, the six tunes the trio covers get completely revamped.  Longo enjoys taking challenging material, such as music originally written for horn bands, and coming up with a piano arrangement.  As usual, he selected pieces by two of his favorite composers -- Wayne Shorter (“Limbo”) and Herbie Hancock (“Eye of the Hurricane”).  “I turned ‘Limbo’ into a waltz.  ‘Hurricane’ is so intricate it was extremely challenging to work out the piano part, especially to be played at such a fast pace, but we nailed it in one take.”  Similarly Longo makes piano-trio music out of classic vocal numbers such as “I Hadn’t Anyone ‘Til You,” “Old Devil Moon” (“entirely reharmonized in a modern style with fourths in inversions”), “You’ve Changed” and “In The Wee Small Hours.”

Mike began playing piano at age three.  He was performing professionally in Florida as a teenager when Cannonball Adderley heard him and soon they were playing the Southern “chittlin’ circuit” together.  Longo earned his Bachelor of Music degree in classical piano at Western Kentucky State University while also playing with the Hal McIntyre Orchestra, Hank Garland and the Salt City Six.  In Chicago in the early Sixties, Oscar Peterson invited Longo to study with him at the Advanced School of Contemporary Music for jazz musicians.  Longo spent the next six months in what he calls “the most intense period of study in my life,” often with private lessons from Peterson.  “I learned all the T’s from him – touch, time, tone, technique, taste, textures and temperature.  That last one has to do with intensity, how hot you play.  What I learned about jazz piano playing from him was profound.”

Mike moved to New York and became a house pianist at the Metropole Cafe where he played with Coleman Hawkins, Henry Red Allen, George Wettling, Gene Krupa and other jazz notables.  Eventually Longo also got to work with many great singers -- Nancy Wilson, Gloria Lynn, Jimmy Witherspoon, Joe Williams, Jimmy Rushing, to name a few.  Longo did an extended stay at Embers West with bassist Paul Chambers accompanying acts such as Frank Foster, Frank Wess, Clark Terry, Zoot Sims and Roy Eldridge.  In addition, over the years Mike has performed on albums by Dizzy Gillespie, Astrud Gilberto, James Moody, Buddy Rich, Lee Konitiz and many others.

Dizzy Gillespie hired Mike as the pianist for the Dizzy Gillespie Quintet in 1966, a position Mike held through nine years of non-stop touring and recording, and for several years he also was the musical director for the band before striking out on his own.  But even then, he worked frequently with Dizzy for another 16 years.  “I was always learning from Dizzy.  He had the greatest depth of understanding of rhythm of any musician I ever met.”  While Mike was with Dizzy, the band recorded many tunes penned by Longo such as “Frisco,” “Let Me Out,” “Soul Kiss” and “The Truth.”  Longo started his own recording career in the early Sixties and now has nearly two-dozen solo albums to his credit (three of them with his big band, the New York State of the Art Jazz Ensemble).

Among his rhythm section’s multitudinous credits, Bob Cranshaw has played with Sonny Rollins, McCoy Tyner, Wes Montgomery, Thelonious Monk, Oscar Peterson, Ella Fitzgerald, Wayne Shorter and Joe Zawinul; and Lewis Nash has performed with Dizzy Gillespie, the Tommy Flanagan Trio, Betty Carter, Sonny Rollins, Oscar Peterson, Wynton Marsalis, Joe Lovano and Ron Carter.  Jimmy Owens has worked with Miles Davis, Lionel Hampton, Duke Ellington, Maynard Ferguson, Thad Jones and countless others.  Lance Bryant’s credits include Lionel Hampton, Abdulah Ibrahim, Jon Hendricks, Phyllis Hyman and George Gee.

Mike Longo has never stopped studying music, constantly searching for new ideas, and freely exploring deeply into the subtleties and nuances found in jazz.  “On this session,” Longo explains, “I gently steered the group, and as we went along I tried to communicate to them key directions such as intensity, temperature, type of tone, and depth of swing.”
________________________________________________________________Click here to buy___________________________

KEEP MUSIC ALIVE
DECEMBER 2011

Musical Surprises Unfold In New Mike Longo CD


MIKE LONGO
TO MY SURPRISE
CAP 1030
JAZZBEAT.COM


Over the past decade, Mike Longo has developed into one of our finest jazz pianists. He is not as flashy as some, as well-known as others, or as obvious in what he offers. But for the dedicated listener, Longo is always a musician we can count on to continue to explore, to offer us subtleties and intricacies deep within the music which gives it more weight, depth, heft, feeling and meaning than much of the surface-level sounds that can be found.

Take his latest CD (buh-doo boom!) called To My Surprise because of the musical surprises that unfold as the band plays live in the studio (mostly first-takes). And what a band. The core trio is rounded out with bassist Bob Cranshaw and drummer Lewis Nash. The trio plays alone on six tunes and then they are joined by two fine horn players, trumpeter Jimmy Owens and saxophonist Lance Bryant, on another half-dozen pieces.

The band kicks it off with the incredibly high-energy “A Picture of Dorian Mode.” The title is apparently a musical in-joke, a play on words with the famous Oscar Wilde novel from 1891, The Picture of Dorian Gray. The piece starts with structured horn parts, presumably written by Longo, that sound like the entrance of Roman gladiators or one of those dash-around-Europe madcap movie soundtracks of the Sixties, but then the horn players start soloing and we are into a full-throttle jazz piece. Longo gets his moments in the first two tunes, but really starts to shine on the third number, “New Muse Blues,” which has a nice melody tempered with some dissonant chords.

There are too many good moments throughout the album to mention here, but some of them include the very buttery sax solo in the title tune, the extended bass solo by Cranshaw in “I Hadn’t Any One Til’ You,” a bit of the old stripper bump-and-grind on Owens’ bluesy “Magic Bluze,” and Longo’s soloing on “You’ve Changed” when he plays just off the beat. There is a lot more, of course, but half the fun is discovering those surprises yourself as you go along.

This CD is highly recommended to jazz lovers; oh, hell, to all music lovers. Click here to buy

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art for your ears
SPRING 2010 (PRINT EDITION)

 

Mike Longo Trio
Sting Like A Bee
(CAP)

Pianist Mike Longo has been an established figure on the jazz scene for almost half a century.  But his latest trio outing shows no sign of road weariness or complacency.  Thanks to private lessons as a youngster with Oscar Peterson, he's thoroughly grounded in the classic jazz-piano trio tradition.  His artistic growth was also nurtured through a long-running tenure with Dizzy Gillespie, for whom he served as both sideman and musical director.

Although his stylistic vocabulary is vast -- he's somewhat of a cult favorite among funk aficionados due to his 1975 classic 900 Shares of the Blues -- Longo focuses here on the language of the trio.  Sting Like a Bee, a follow-up to his 2007 release Float Like a Butterfly, features two equally accomplished cohorts: Bob Cranshaw on bass and Lewis Nash on drums.  The session's overall vibe is one of relaxed confidence, with a conscious emphasis on finesse and contemplative communication.

Most of the dozen tracks are performed at a leisurely tempo allowing all three participants to explore and develop subtle stylistic nuances.  Not that there aren't some high-wire moments.  On Gillespies's "Kush," for example, the leader dauntingly carriers a heavy load, his left hand maintaining a robust ostinato while he crafts a bluesy solo with his right.

Longo offers a loving tribute to Peterson, performing a medley of Leonard Bernstein works that the late pianist famously tackled on his 1962 album West Side Story.  One legitimate criticism of Sting Like a Bee is that Longo opted for a tasteful but fairly conventional program dominated by standards of Wayne Shorter, Clifford Brown, Herbie Hancock and others, rather than featuring more of his own creations.  As he demonstrates on the dreamy "Someone to Love" and the hyperkinetic, boppish "Bird Seed," he has much to offer as a composer.

-- Mark Holston Click Here to buy
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STING LIKE A BEE: Consolidated Artists Productions
CAP 1018 www.jazzbeat.com. Speak No Evil;
Lo!e for Sale; Daahoud; Tell Me a Bedtime Story; Someone
to Lo!e; Westside Story Medley; Dance Cadaverous;
Morning; Speak Low; Bird Seed; Checked Bags; Kush.
PERSONNEL: Mike Longo, piano; Bob Cranshaw,
bass; Lewis Nash, drums.
By Eric Harabadian
From the !rst note you know you are in the presence
of true masters. Of course, all three members of
the trio have racked up numerous performance credits
on countless recording dates. And there is a certain
con!dence and self assuredness that comes with that
kind of experience. "at sentiment is very much in
abundance here.
Longo was a private student of the great Canadian
pianist Oscar Peterson and he proudly shares that
information with the listener in the liner notes. He
employs that knowledge gained to great e#ect on this
musically rich and plentiful post-modern bop disc.
"e selection of tunes is exquisite beginning with
a brisk and spry take on Wayne Shorter’s “Speak No
Evil.” "e tempo is more upbeat than the original paving
the way for inventive interplay between the group.
Longo articulates the sensitive melody and navigates
its dynamics sublimely, reveling in trading fours with
Nash during the track’s mid-section. Cole Porter’s
“Love for Sale” gets a stride piano feel that plays languid
and lounge-y. Longo retains the tune’s pleasant and
playful nature by approaching the head and solos laid
back and relaxed. Cli#ord Brown’s “Daahoud” takes
o# with a fast tempo that really provides a showcase for
Longo’s agile and legato melodic lines. "e rhythm section
swings building to a fever pitch whereby Nash explodes
in an exciting coda. Herbie Hancock’s “Tell Me
a Bedtime Story” is done here as a bossa nova with close
and complimentary accents by Nash on the melody.
Longo weaves in and out of the intricate theme with
the unfettered $ight of a bee—hence, the title of the
album, perhaps?
Longo is an accomplished composer as well and
slips a few of his own works into the mix such as the
Bill Evans-like ballad “Someone to Love.” It is sophisticated
in its modulations and changes but resolves on an
in-the-pocket groovy funk-inspired vamp. “Westside
Story Medley” is obviously musical vignettes from the
Leonard Bernstein opus but also signi!cant to Longo
because Peterson recorded the same work for one of his
landmark recordings. "e trio dives into this one with
a bright and upbeat take on “Tonight” that transitions
into the re$ective “A Place for Us” and concludes with a
bluesy mid-tempo waltz “I Feel Pretty.” From there the
mood abruptly shi%s once again to Shorter’s dark and
moody “Dance Cadaverous.” "is piece is cerebral and
ponderous, with light swing from Nash and a thoughtful
solo from Cranshaw. “Morning” is the Clare Fisher
composition that is a light Latin burner, with an upli%-
ing and open spirit. Nash is especially tasty on this one
as he summons robust timbale-like sounds from his
drum kit. Kurt Weill’s “Speak Low” is taken here in a mellow
manner—very understated and conversational as
the title suggests. The remaining three tunes feature two by
Longo—namely “Bird Seed”, “Checked Bags” and
Dizzy Gillespie’s “Kush.” "The f!rst is obviously dedicated
to Charlie Parker and is taken at a break neck
pace in phrasing and drive. Longo seems to embody
Monk and Tatum here as Nash and Cranshaw push
the groove along. "The next original is more of an abstract
blues with an asymmetrical rhythm. It is relaxed
with a traditional vibe to it. "The f!nal Gillespie track
iis a solo piano study featuring Longo’s blend of strong
ostinato bass below a stack of multi-dimensional melodies
and changes.
By Eric Harabadian Click Here to buy
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JULY 2007

Mike Longo Trio..Float Like A Butterfly - Cap1006 2007

Mike Longo, piano
Jimmy Wormworth, drums
Paul West, bass

It seems like ages since I've gotten a true jazz recording. This one is
a joy to listen to and you can take it to the musical bank of your
choice. Mike Longo, influenced by Dizzy and Oscar Peterson, with whom he
studied, is true to the art form and then some. Swing is prevalent, his
ideas flow and his sense of melody and rhythm are magical.

"Tenderly" was one of Charlie Parker's favorite tunes and Longo and
company give this chestnut new and delightful meaning with their
interpretive powers. Wormworth's drums are right on timewise with no
extraneous clutter, just a perfect adjunct to Longo's brilliant solo.
Paul West's bass lines add much to the overall effect.

Toes will tap and smiles will appear upon listening to "It Could Happen
To You" Magical changes are throughout Longo's message. He gets over
this tune with a supple as silk approach. A solid bass solo is as hip
as it gets.

The haunting melody of "Laura" is painted on a palette of musical colors
by Longo that display his talents beautifully.

"Here Tiz" Mr. Gillespie is paid tribute to by this fine trio in a style
that would make angels cry with joy...

This record is like finding a gold piece in the jazz marketplace. It
gets no better.

5 Stars
-- John Gilbert Click Here to Buy
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jazz, blues, world music news

RUSSIA’S TOP DISTRIBUTOR OF NEWS ABOUT ALTERNATIVE & INSTRUMENTAL MUSICS

JULY 2007

JAZZ STALWART MIKE LONGO PLAYED WITH DIZZY GILLESPIE FOR 25 YEARS
AND USES WHAT HE LEARNED ON THE NEW LONGO TRIO CD


On the new Mike Longo Trio album, Float Like a Butterfly, the jazz pianist continues his deep exploration of the possibilities of rhythm based on lessons learned from his two greatest teachers –- Oscar Peterson (whom Mike studied under early on) and Dizzy Gillespie (Longo performed with him for 25 years).

This new recording, utilizing jazz stalwarts Paul West on bass and Jimmy Wormworth on drums, showcases Longo’s always-evolutionary playing and is available online at jazzbeat.com, amazon.com, cdbaby.com and digital download sites such as iTunes.

“The album title comes from the fact that certain uses of rhythm in music can produce a floating effect for both the player and listener, ” Longo explains. “This feeling of being airborne, of defying gravity, is a product of the physics of rhythm. Musicians have known about it for many years and speak about floating or flying, but hardly anyone really understands it.”

Float Like a Butterfly is dedicated to Oscar Peterson because he taught Mike “true jazz piano playing.” In Chicago in the early Sixties, Longo met Peterson, who invited Mike to study with him at the Advanced School of Contemporary Music run by Peterson and Ray Brown for jazz musicians. Longo spent the next six months in what he calls “the most intense period of study in my life, ” often with private lessons from Peterson. “I already had my college degree, but it was in classical music, and I had been making my living playing jazz in the South and in New York City for several years. But when I started studying with Oscar, I realized I had been playing the piano incorrectly for jazz. I first learned the five T’s from him – touch, time, tone, technique and taste. He had me practicing 13 hours a day and I also had to make a living playing gigs most nights. It was a complete turnaround for me musically. What I learned about jazz piano playing was profound, especially piano textures, another T. He also showed me different ways of harmonizing and how to put together piano arrangements.”

In New York City, Gillespie heard Mike in 1966 and hired him as the pianist for the Dizzy Gillespie Quintet, a position Mike held for nine years (eventually becoming music director as well) before striking out on his own again. But even then, he worked frequently with Dizzy for another 16 years. “I was always learning from Dizzy, mostly during performances, but sometimes in odd ways. He had the greatest depth of understanding of rhythm of any musician I ever met. He might come up to me during my solo and whisper a different rhythm in my ear that affected how I was playing right then. One time at the Village Gate he wrote down a rhythm on a notepad and gave it to me. It took me 30 years to learn how to play it and understand it. Another time he put on a tape of African rhythm instruments and asked me where I would put ‘one.’ I put it where everyone would. He told me to put it in this other place. Suddenly a whole new world of rhythmic possibilities opened up for me and, when we started playing, this marvelous four-part contrapuntal texture just jumped out of the piano like magic, ” remembers Longo.

“Even after Dizzy’s death, I have continued learning from him. A couple of years ago I was listening to a radio special about him and he started singing a cymbal beat for Billy Taylor, but Diz started on the fourth beat. I use African drums when I give music lessons, just like Dizzy sometimes did with me, and while playing the drum with a student, all of a sudden that cymbal beat I had heard Dizzy singing on the radio jumped off my drum and I thought, ‘Oh, that’s what he meant!’ It was an entirely different way of accenting. I started incorporating it into my piano playing. I began experimenting more deeply than ever before with polymetric time progression where you start to get several meters at once until you might have four or five layers of different rhythms with various tempos and timing. With this new revelation from Dizzy, I had to explore it for a couple of years and let it settle in awhile before I felt I was ready to record another trio album.”

Float Like a Butterfly (on the CAP label) is Longo’s first trio album since 2003 (although he released a big band recording in 2004). To capture the right performance for this new CD, Longo went into the studio four times with his trio and this set of tunes. Without rehearsals or song arrangements, the band used the melodies of the tunes as a quick jumping off point for improvisation. Longo discarded the first three attempts in the studio, but on the fourth try the band came up with the soaring interplay Mike was seeking. What you hear are first or second takes played live in the studio. “We had a few false starts with ‘Everytime I See You’ because the 5/4 bars are a little tough when you’re improvising.”

Longo tips his hat to Oscar Peterson with a cover of “Tenderly, ” one of Peterson’s earliest and biggest hits. When Mike was barely a teenager, he saw Oscar in concert and this was the tune that made Longo want to become a jazz pianist. “Although this acknowledges Oscar as my teacher, I play it with my own phrasing and groove.” In addition, Longo pulls out two more chestnuts from his childhood, “Girl of My Dreams” and “Dancing in the Dark, ” and remakes them into modern swinging post-bop improv ventures.

Longo also ties into several tunes penned by some of his favorite jazz composers: Thelonious Monk’s “Evidence” (“He taught me to go to the unexpected place where no one expects you to go. That’s what I learned from him.”), Wayne Shorter’s “Witch Hunt” (“his version with Herbie Hancock and a horn section was great, but I could hear a different approach using piano trio, playing lines within lines”) and Freddie Hubbard’s “Blue Spirits” (“another tune written for horns that I felt could be molded and shaped into a pianistic version”). Longo remembers playing “Here Tiz (Impromptu)” a lot with Gillespie (“his recorded version with Sonny Rollins was inspirational”). The CD also contains a Longo original, “Diminished Returns” (“a lot of diminished major 7th chords running parallel”).

Among their many credits, bassist Paul West has played with Dizzy Gillespie, Oscar Peterson, Dinah Washington, Ray Charles and Billy Eckstine; while drummer Jimmy Wormworth has performed with Lambert, Hendricks & Ross, Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk, Lou Donaldson and Charles Davis.

Longo was born in Cincinnati and began playing piano at age three thanks to his church organist mother and part-time professional jazz bass-playing father. The family moved to Florida, where Mike, at age 15, began working with his father’s band on weekends. Cannonball Adderly heard Mike and soon they were playing the Southern “chittlin’ circuit” together. Longo earned his Bachelor of Music degree in classical piano at Western Kentucky State University. During those years, he went on the road with the Hal McIntyre Orchestra one summer and also played with legendary guitarist Hank Garland in Nashville. Longo toured for two years with the Salt City Six. After the group played at New York’s Metropole Cafe, the band left, but Mike stayed on as the house pianist playing with such jazz notables as Coleman Hawkins, Henry Red Allen, George Wettling, Gene Krupa and many others. After the Chicago stint studying with Peterson, Longo moved permanently to New York City which led to opportunities to work with many great singers -- Nancy Wilson, Gloria Lynn, Jimmy Witherspoon, Joe Williams, Jimmy Rushing and others. Longo did an extended stay at Embers West with bassist Paul Chambers accompanying acts such as Frank Foster, Lee Konitz, Frank Wess, Clark Terry, Zoot Sims and Roy Eldridge. In addition, over the years Mike has performed on albums by Dizzy Gillespie, Astrud Gilberto, James Moody, Buddy Rich, Lee Konitiz and numerous others.

While Mike was with Dizzy, the band recorded many tunes penned by Longo such as “Frisco, ” “Let Me Out, ” “Soul Kiss” and “The Truth.” Longo started his own recording career in the early Sixties and now has 19 albums to his credit (three of them with his big band, the New York State of the Art Jazz Ensemble). Mike Longo also is a renowned music teacher, has helped many jazz players with private instruction, and has written nine music textbooks, primarily on jazz improvisation.

But this jazz master has never stopped his own studies, constantly searching and learning, open to new ideas, and freely exploring deeper into the subtleties and nuances found in the world of jazz. When the floating butterfly spreads its wings, it’s a thing of beauty.

Click Here to Buy
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JANUARY 1, 2012

Mike Longo Trio + 2: To My Surprise (2011)

By EDWARD BLANCO

Though veteran jazz pianist Mike Longo has a long and distinguished career that includes a 25-year association with the legendary Dizzy Gillespie, To My Surprise documents only the second recording with his existing trio. This follow-up to his very successful Sting Like A Bee (Consolidated Artist Production, 2009), features the same lineup of bassist Bob Cranshaw and drummer Lewis Nash as the core trio, but a major difference is the inclusion of trumpet luminary Jimmy Owens and tenor saxophonist Lance Bryant on a half dozen tracks, hence the amended group title: Mike Longo Trio + 2.
With an augmented group, Longo's creative juices lead to tight arrangements and an array of soloing on each piece. The album presents fresh treatments of some familiar standards, performed with an exciting modern jazz sound firmly rooted in the finest bebop tradition. The blistering "A Picture of Dorian Mode" is testament to some of the album's hard-swinging nature, reveling in a hard-driving and boisterous start to the session. The blues claims a small portion of the repertoire on the blues-bop shuffle of "New Muse Blues" and Owens' lazily strutting contribution, "Magic Bluze."
It's all about Longo on Wayne Shorter's "Limbo," turning in a classy performance on this brief and delicate number. "Alone Again" is a beautiful, balladic original, featuring brilliant solos from Bryant and Owens (on flugelhorn) over nine enchanting minutes. Two classic vocal numbers receive modern re-harmonizations (Ray Noble's "I Hadn't Anyone Til' You" and the Burton Lane standard "Old Devil Moon"), while Longo vamps two other time-honored standards ("You've Changed" and "In The Wee Small Hours") lightly with the trio.
The title piece is certainly one of the disc's pleasurable surprises, highlighting a smooth trumpet solo and rich tenor phrasing, climaxing with both horns playing distinctly different approaches simultaneously to close, while Nash beats a fast-paced version of Herbie Hancock's high-energy "Eye of The Hurricane" to a whirlwind. In the end there's really no surprise about To My Surprise as Longo, his trio mates and two special guests perform in elite fashion, delivering special musical moments that can only enhance the pianist's reputation as a top-tier jazz artist.
Track Listing: A Picture of Dorian Mode; Still Water; New Muse Blues; Limbo; Alone Again; I Hadn't Anyone Til' You; Old Devil Moon; Magic Bluze; To My Surprise; You've Changed; Eye of the Hurricane; In The Wee Small Hours.
Personnel: Mike Longo: piano; Bob Cranshaw: bass; Lewis Nash: drums; Jimmy Owens: trumpet, flugelhorn; Lance Bryant: tenor saxophone.
Record Label: Consolidated Artists Productions | Style: Modern Jazz Click here to buy

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AUGUST 2007

Mike Longo Trio - Float Like A Butterfly

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000TRMU3Y/thecelebritycafe“Float Like A Butterfly” by the Mike Longo Trio will glide over listeners’ ears just like the winged insect mentioned in the album’s title. Many of the tracks emote a softness consonant to the butterfly, while others have a jazziness to them that is so upbeat and infectious that listeners will be drawn into their hypnotic sorcery.

The first track has quick-witted piano and groovy percussion work that blend well together to form a seamless melody. Longo’s ease with the piano is evident with each stroke he makes on the instrument.

The second track has a slow jazz beat to it complete with cool piano play that will make listeners sigh as they slide into a relaxed state of mind. This song is perfect to waltz to with a stranger or someone you hold dear.

The third track begins with Longo tapping out a classical yet theatrical intro on the piano. His booming notes will definitely draw notice from listeners. Then, drum play and smooth percussion enters the picture giving the song a sprightly feeling. This will make listeners smile as they contemplate dancing to the rhythm.

The fourth track has unhurried percussion and piano play, with dusty guitar in the background. This song has a smokiness to it that makes it one that could be heard at an exclusive jazz piano bar.

“Float Like a Butterfly” from the Mike Longo Trio is an album whose melodies and instrumentation are so unforgettable that listeners might find themselves humming certain bars of specific songs long after the album has stopped.

Reviewer: Sari N. Kent Click Here to Buy

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MIKE LONGO TRIO/Float Like a Butterfly: In which we find Longo taking a
breather to explore his back pages paying homage to influences like Oscar
Peterson and Dizzy Gillespie as well as fave composers.  A veteran and
survivor as well as an innovator, Longo has been at this awhile and has
covered a lot of distance in his jazz journey which sounds like it's still
far from over.  The piano man keeps it simple but far from superficial as he
leads his trio through a great jazz romp that pleases the ear with ease.  A
tasty set for real jazz piano fans.

1006 (CAP) Click Here to Buy
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you

AUGUST 2007

MIKE LONGO SOARS, SAILS, FLOATS AND FLIES
ON NEW FLOAT LIKE A BUTTERFLY CD


MIKE LONGO
MIKE LONGO TRIO – FLOAT LIKE A BUTTERFLY

On the new Mike Longo Trio album, Float Like a Butterfly, the jazz pianist continues his deep exploration of the possibilities of rhythm based on lessons learned from his two greatest teachers –- Oscar Peterson (whom Mike studied under early on) and Dizzy Gillespie (Longo performed with him for 25 years).

This new recording, utilizing jazz stalwarts Paul West on bass and Jimmy Wormworth on drums, showcases Longo’s always-evolutionary playing and is available online at jazzbeat.com, amazon.com, cdbaby.com and digital download sites such as iTunes.

“The album title comes from the fact that certain uses of rhythm in music can produce a floating effect for both the player and listener,” Longo explains. “This feeling of being airborne, of defying gravity, is a product of the physics of rhythm. Musicians have known about it for many years and speak about floating or flying, but hardly anyone really understands it.”

Float Like a Butterfly is dedicated to Oscar Peterson because he taught Mike “true jazz piano playing.” In Chicago in the early Sixties, Longo met Peterson, who invited Mike to study with him at the Advanced School of Contemporary Music run by Peterson and Ray Brown for jazz musicians. Longo spent the next six months in what he calls “the most intense period of study in my life,” often with private lessons from Peterson. “I already had my college degree, but it was in classical music, and I had been making my living playing jazz in the South and in New York City for several years. But when I started studying with Oscar, I realized I had been playing the piano incorrectly for jazz. I first learned the five T’s from him – touch, time, tone, technique and taste. He had me practicing 13 hours a day and I also had to make a living playing gigs most nights. It was a complete turnaround for me musically. What I learned about jazz piano playing was profound, especially piano textures, another T. He also showed me different ways of harmonizing and how to put together piano arrangements.”

In New York City, Gillespie heard Mike in 1966 and hired him as the pianist for the Dizzy Gillespie Quintet, a position Mike held for nine years (eventually becoming music director as well) before striking out on his own again. But even then, he worked frequently with Dizzy for another 16 years. “I was always learning from Dizzy, mostly during performances, but sometimes in odd ways. He had the greatest depth of understanding of rhythm of any musician I ever met. He might come up to me during my solo and whisper a different rhythm in my ear that affected how I was playing right then. One time at the Village Gate he wrote down a rhythm on a notepad and gave it to me. It took me 30 years to learn how to play it and understand it. Another time he put on a tape of African rhythm instruments and asked me where I would put ‘one.’ I put it where everyone would. He told me to put it in this other place. Suddenly a whole new world of rhythmic possibilities opened up for me and, when we started playing, this marvelous four-part contrapuntal texture just jumped out of the piano like magic,” remembers Longo.

“Even after Dizzy’s death, I have continued learning from him. A couple of years ago I was listening to a radio special about him and he started singing a cymbal beat for Billy Taylor, but Diz started on the fourth beat. I use African drums when I give music lessons, just like Dizzy sometimes did with me, and while playing the drum with a student, all of a sudden that cymbal beat I had heard Dizzy singing on the radio jumped off my drum and I thought, ‘Oh, that’s what he meant!’ It was an entirely different way of accenting. I started incorporating it into my piano playing. I began experimenting more deeply than ever before with polymetric time progression where you start to get several meters at once until you might have four or five layers of different rhythms with various tempos and timing. With this new revelation from Dizzy, I had to explore it for a couple of years and let it settle in awhile before I felt I was ready to record another trio album.”

Float Like a Butterfly (on the CAP label) is Longo’s first trio album since 2003 (although he released a big band recording in 2004). To capture the right performance for this new CD, Longo went into the studio four times with his trio and this set of tunes. Without rehearsals or song arrangements, the band used the melodies of the tunes as a quick jumping off point for improvisation. Longo discarded the first three attempts in the studio, but on the fourth try the band came up with the soaring interplay Mike was seeking. What you hear are first or second takes played live in the studio. “We had a few false starts with ‘Everytime I See You’ because the 5/4 bars are a little tough when you’re improvising.”

Longo tips his hat to Oscar Peterson with a cover of “Tenderly,” one of Peterson’s earliest and biggest hits. When Mike was barely a teenager, he saw Oscar in concert and this was the tune that made Longo want to become a jazz pianist. “Although this acknowledges Oscar as my teacher, I play it with my own phrasing and groove.” In addition, Longo pulls out two more chestnuts from his childhood, “Girl of My Dreams” and “Dancing in the Dark,” and remakes them into modern swinging post-bop improv ventures.

Longo also ties into several tunes penned by some of his favorite jazz composers: Thelonious Monk’s “Evidence” (“He taught me to go to the unexpected place where no one expects you to go. That’s what I learned from him.”), Wayne Shorter’s “Witch Hunt” (“his version with Herbie Hancock and a horn section was great, but I could hear a different approach using piano trio, playing lines within lines”) and Freddie Hubbard’s “Blue Spirits” (“another tune written for horns that I felt could be molded and shaped into a pianistic version”). Longo remembers playing “Here Tiz (Impromptu)” a lot with Gillespie (“his recorded version with Sonny Rollins was inspirational”). The CD also contains a Longo original, “Diminished Returns” (“a lot of diminished major 7th chords running parallel”).

Among their many credits, bassist Paul West has played with Dizzy Gillespie, Oscar Peterson, Dinah Washington, Ray Charles and Billy Eckstine; while drummer Jimmy Wormworth has performed with Lambert, Hendricks & Ross, Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk, Lou Donaldson and Charles Davis.

Longo was born in Cincinnati and began playing piano at age three thanks to his church organist mother and part-time professional jazz bass-playing father. The family moved to Florida, where Mike, at age 15, began working with his father’s band on weekends. Cannonball Adderly heard Mike and soon they were playing the Southern “chittlin’ circuit” together. Longo earned his Bachelor of Music degree in classical piano at Western Kentucky State University. During those years, he went on the road with the Hal McIntyre Orchestra one summer and also played with legendary guitarist Hank Garland in Nashville. Longo toured for two years with the Salt City Six. After the group played at New York’s Metropole Cafe, the band left, but Mike stayed on as the house pianist playing with such jazz notables as Coleman Hawkins, Henry Red Allen, George Wettling, Gene Krupa and many others. After the Chicago stint studying with Peterson, Longo moved permanently to New York City which led to opportunities to work with many great singers -- Nancy Wilson, Gloria Lynn, Jimmy Witherspoon, Joe Williams, Jimmy Rushing and others. Longo did an extended stay at Embers West with bassist Paul Chambers accompanying acts such as Frank Foster, Lee Konitz, Frank Wess, Clark Terry, Zoot Sims and Roy Eldridge. In addition, over the years Mike has performed on albums by Dizzy Gillespie, Astrud Gilberto, James Moody, Buddy Rich, Lee Konitiz and numerous others.

While Mike was with Dizzy, the band recorded many tunes penned by Longo such as “Frisco,” “Let Me Out,” “Soul Kiss” and “The Truth.” Longo started his own recording career in the early Sixties and now has 19 albums to his credit (three of them with his big band, the New York State of the Art Jazz Ensemble). Mike Longo also is a renowned music teacher, has helped many jazz players with private instruction, and has written nine music textbooks, primarily on jazz improvisation.

But this jazz master has never stopped his own studies, constantly searching and learning, open to new ideas, and freely exploring deeper into the subtleties and nuances found in the world of jazz. When the floating butterfly spreads its wings, it’s a thing of beauty.

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Aftermath
Mike Longo and the New York State of the Art Jazz Ensemble (Consolidated Artists)

As last year's debut album by pianist Mike Longo's NYSAJE was labeled Explosion, it's entirely appropriate that its second
enterprise should be dubbed Aftermath. One should not be lulled, however, into believing that the aftermath is somehow less
dynamic than the explosion itself. This aftermath packs a devastating wallop of its own, orchestrated by Longo and ignited by
twenty‹two of the New York City area's most accomplished sidemen. Although it's not stated in so many words, we presume
that all of the charts and all but three of the compositions (Coltrane's "Naima," Dizzy Gillespie's "Wee," Rodgers and Hart's
"It Never Entered My Mind") are by Longo. If so, Diz's longtime music director has done himself proud, framing bold yet
accessible songs and arrangements that may be challenging to play but are a pleasure to hear. The reed section in particular
"Wee," wherein Longo
remodels a typically meaty Sonny Stitt solo for them to chew on. As a reward, the ensemble is given Longo's sumptuous
arrangement of "It Never Entered My Mind" in lieu of the usual flag-waving finale. Aftermath opens with Longo's Gillespie-‹like
swinger, "Urban Jungle," which precedes his radiant bossa-based treatment of "Naima." Longo hits the nail squarely on the
head with "Moody's Groove," as one can almost envision the legendary saxophonist leaping eagerly into its bluesy changes.
"Love Dreams," whose walking bass intro reminds one of "A Night in Tunisia," prances smartly along behind wicked solos by
alto Bob Magnuson and guitarist Adam Rafferty; "Hooters," which includes some of the most charming ensemble passages on
the album, slows the tempo slightly for trumpeter Joe Magnarelli and soprano Patience Higgins; "Day Spring," a Latin-style
romp in 5 /4, introduces another impressive trumpeter, Nabate Isles, who solos again on the melodic burner, "Yomamo" on
the former with trombonist Wayne Andre and bassist Lyn Christy, the latter with alto Lee Greene and trombonist Sam Burtis.
Other soloists of note include Longo, trumpeter Virgil Jones and tenor Frank Perowsky (ÒUrban JungleÓ); Longo, Magnuson and
flautist Frank Basile ("Naima"); Greene, Rafferty and trombonist Bob Suttman ("MoodyÕs Groove"); Perowsky, trumpeters Burt
"Wee"), Collins (flugel) and Andre ("It Never Entered My Mind"). Drummer Darryl Pellegrini anchors
the ensemble's superb rhythm section. Nola Studio, where the recording was made, should be booked often, as the sound is
letter-perfect. With two such"explosive" albums on the street, what to call the next one? How about "Bombs Away"?
‹D, New York, NY 10025. Web site, www.jazzbeat.com
Track Listing: Urban Jungle; Naima; Moody's Groove; Love Dreams; Hooters; Day Spring; Yomamo; Wee; It Never Entered My
Mind (66:20).
Personnel: Mike Longo, leader, piano; Virgil Jones, Burt Collins, Joe Magnarelli, Joe Shepley, Nabate Isles, Gary Guzio, Darryl
Shaw, trumpet; Bob Magnuson, Lee Greene, Frank Perowsky, Patience Higgins, Frank Basile, Matt Snyder, reeds; Wayne Andre,
Sam Burtis, Bob Suttman, Lynn Welshman, Eric Goetz, trombone; Adam Rafferty, guitar; Lyn Christie, bass; Darryl Pellegrini,
drums.
Monday, January 28, 2002 Jazz Magazine and Resource | ALL ABOUT JAZZ Page: 2
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Tuesday, April 1, 2003 Jazz Magazine and Resource | ALL ABOUT JAZZ Page: 1
http://www.allaboutjazz.com/reviews/pf_r0303_038.htm
Review Courtesy AllAboutJazz.com
Live: Detroit Jazz Festival
Mike Longo Trio | CAP
Track Listing: My Funny Valentine; Trane’s Blues; Fiesta Mojo;
Rhythm-A-Ning; Tin Tin Deo; Porgy and Bess medley; Footprints; ‘Round
Midnight; A Night in Tunisia.
Personnel: Mike Longo- piano; Santi Debriano- bass; Ray Mosca- drums.
You can feel the training Mike Longo received from Oscar
Peterson when he stretches out liberally on “Fiesta Mojo.”
The swing he inherited from Cannonball Adderley and the
spontaneity that stems from his long association with
Dizzy Gillespie also show up on this live recording from
last year’s Detroit Jazz Festival. Bassist Santi Debriano and
drummer Ray Mosca find the setting ideal as well for
turning loose their improvisational ties. At one hour and
15 minutes, this festival set allows plenty of room for
Longo’s talented acoustic trio to navigate. Unlike some
“live” recordings, this one has captured the trio’s sound
quite well.

Straight-ahead and pumped up, Longo offers an eclectic
program from the mainstream. His extended medley on
“Porgy and Bess” captures the passion that comes with its
telling story. The pianist builds cascades that climb and
drift lazily past memorable landscapes. Many South
Carolina seashore communities lost that informal feeling
long ago, but Gershwin’s music never fades. Shifts in the
trio’s mood take the audience through several key
chapters of the classic opera. Longo brings back all the
swing that was embodied by those fascinating characters.
The trio’s interpretation of Wayne Shorter, Monk, Diz and
Trane infuses straight-ahead jazz with a healthy spirit. As
evidenced by their live festival session, no classic piece is
ever played the same way twice. When they close the
performance with a rousing “Night in Tunisia,” Longo,
Debriano and Mosca stir the senses as few others can
manage to convey convincingly. Recommended, their trio
outing adds plenty of fuel to the fires that still burn for the
memory of the fathers of modern jazz.
~ Jim Santella
All material copyright © 1996-2002 All About Jazz and contributing writers. All rights reserved.

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Dawn of a New Day
Mike Longo (Consolidated Artists)
By Jack Bowers
Although the name Mike Longo isn't as readily known in Jazz circles as, say, Oscar Peterson, Kenny Barron, Tommy Flanagan,
McCoy Tyner, Barry Harris or Hank Jones, his pianistic acumen is assuredly in the same league with those gentlemen. One
doesn't serve as Dizzy Gillespie's pianist/music director, as Longo did for many years, without having something special to offer.
Although he has recorded a number of albums as leader (The Earth Is But One Country, New York '78, I Miss You John) they
have consisted primarily of original compositions by Longo or his sidemen. Here, in a trio setting, the pianist interprets half a
dozen enduring standards, offers an extended medley from Gershwin's "Porgy and Bess," and performs two songs by Gillespie
(Woody 'n You, Tin Tin Deo), Eddie Harris' Freedom Jazz Dance and one of his own compositions, the unhurried blues Dawn of a
New Day, which opens this picturesque and engaging session - three sessions actually, as Longo is accompanied by bassists Paul
West (four tracks), Ben Brown (five) or John Lee and drummers Ray Mosca (nine tracks) or Ignacio Berroa (Speak Low, Freedom
Jazz Dance). In every case, the changes in personnel are seamless and the rhythm section solidly supportive. Meanwhile, Longo
shows clearly that he knows his way around the keyboard, cruising in stride (no pun intended) through ballads, blues (including a
mercurial version of Limehouse Blues) and an especially funky rendition of the Kurt Weill classic, Speak Low. Perhaps because of
his years with Dizzy, Longo plays piano with a hornman's conception and temperament, building his elegant improvisational
statements logically and with enormous respect for harmony and dynamics. The result is music that is vibrant, accessible and
consistently rewarding.
Mike Longo, piano, arranger; Paul West, Ben Brown, acoustic bass; John Lee, electric bass; Ray Mosca, drums; Ignacio Berroa,
drums (on "Speak Low," "Freedom Jazz Dance")
Dawn of a New Day, Why Do I Love You, Woody 'n You, The Shadow of Your Smile, Tin Tin Deo, Sweet and Lovely, Porgy and
Bess Medley, Speak Low, A Fine Romance, Freedom Jazz Dance, Limehouse Blues
(64:14)
Reprinted with permission from Marge Hofacre's Jazz News
Monday, January 28, 2002 Jazz Magazine and Resource | ALL ABOUT JAZZ Page: 2
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Tuesday, June 11, 2002 CDReviews Search Results Page: 1
http://jazztimes.com/reviews/ReviewAction.cfm?CDID=3333
Before & After | Critics' Picks | Final Chorus | Live | New Releases | News | On Newsstands | Reviews |
Sound$weeps | Web Exclusive
Artist: Longo, Mike
Title of CD: Dawn New Day
Record Label: CAP
Reviewed by David Zych in the CD Reviews section of the December 1998 issue.
BUY THIS BACK ISSUE
This is one of those jazz recordings that is eminently listenable, even to the uninitiated
who, after they hear it, will say something like, "Hey, I like that. Is that really jazz?" And
to those who appreciate the music, pianist Longo's recording, Dawn New Day, will also
captivate with its interesting solos, great arrangements, and a diverse program that
ranges from Gershwin to Gillespie.

The operner and title tune-a Longo composition-is an infectious blues, and is followed by
a program of melody-rich tunes by such heavies as Jerome Kern ("A Fine Romance," and
"Why Do I Love You") to bebop classics by Diz ("Woody'n You", "Tin Tin Deo") and, for
good measure, a Porgy and Bess medley that offers more than 11 minutes of virtuosity.
Joining Longo are Paul West, Ben Brown, and John Lee sharing bass duties, and Ray
Mosca and Ignacio Berroa on the drum seats.

Longo's keyboard touch is light yet rich, and appreciative of the music he is interpreting.
It's also fun; there's a large entertainment factor derived from good music that's played
very well.

Johnny Mandel's "Shadow of Your Smile," for example, shows off the tender balladeer
quality that Longo possesses in spades but, in a heartbeat, he's funky and hip, diving
into, say, a John Berks tune with gobs of enthusiasm.
This is a quality recording that should have wide appeal.

[

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Tuesday, October 12, 2004 Review of Mike Longo - Oasis on CAP @ jazzreview.com Page: 1
http://www.jazzreview.com/cdreviewprint.cfm?ID=7903
Featured Artist: Mike Longo
CD Title: Oasis
Year: 2004
Record Label: CAP
Style: BeBop / Hard Bop
Review: Oh Yea........Mike Longo & his big band will hit you right where it counts with his dynamic, & I mean a
dynamic vocal big band CD project. I'm particularly moved, in that I too have a fine big band & know what
Mike has taken on. So, I look to Mike as a soul-mate within the big band idiom. Kudos must resound to Mike
regarding his prowess @ composing & arranging. His arrangement of Gershwin's eternal missive, 'Love
Walked In' was 'right in your face' perfect for their fine vocalist Hilary Gardner to lilt upon. (Note: I hate to
sound so mercenary Mike, but if you're willing to send me a copy of that chart, I'm honored to play it in my
big band.) This is a band with a flawless sense of crescendo & decrescendo.......Their unison work: In a word,
impeccable! This is a vigorous pro-active group with an inventive, virtuosic, technique. They play with an
energy that could be classified as unpredictable,but they perform their work with an astounding & consistent
high level of artistic intensity. They are definitely going to be heard from for awhile..............At least this
writer hopes so!!
PS: If they ever need a 'cameo' vocalist, I'm up for the challenge.
Reviewed by: George W. Carroll/the Musicians' Ombudsman
Copyright© 2004 JazzReview.com®. All Rights Reserved.

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March 29th in the South
Florida Sun-Sentinel.

Mike Longo: Still Swingin' (CAP)
Fort Lauderdale native Mike Longo, who spent 22
years as Dizzy Gillespie's pianist, leads a form-fitting
trio in this outing with bassist Ben Brown and
drummer Ray Mosca. Longo is especially eloquent on
standards, making a beautiful, heartfelt elegy of It
Never Entered My Mind and slowing the tempo of How
High the Moon to expose rich seams of harmony. He
puts a sleek new harmonic chassis under I Didn't Know
What Time It Was, struts through From This Moment
On and offers a couple of evocative originals, plus
tunes by John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, Wayne Shorter
and James Moody. In Shorter's Wildflower, Longo's
melodic lines eddy and flow until he and his trio achieve
a kind of blithe transcendence. And if you thought
nothing new could be wrung from the chords of
Without a Song, listen to Longo's easy, floating swing
as he creates shifting musical perspectives through
subtle changes in dynamics and texture. The art of
the jazz trio doesn't get much better than this. (This
recording on the small CAP label may be hard to find;
it can be ordered from www. jazzbeat.com or by
calling 800-232-6796.)
-- Matt Schudel
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Tuesday, June 4, 2002 ReviewAction.cfm Page: 1
http://jazztimes.com/reviews/ReviewAction.cfm?CDID=7897

Artist: Longo, Mike (Trio)
Title of CD: Still Swingin'
Record Label: CAP
Reviewed by Harvey Siders in the CD Reviews section of the March 2002 issue.
BUY THIS BACK ISSUE
Ordinarily, an earthquake is stronger than its aftershock. That may run contrary to Mike
Longo's personal seismograph. Last year he recorded a big band CD for CAP, calling it
Explosion; as a follow-up he added to its magnitude by using an even bigger band, with
virtually the same personnel, and called it Aftermath.
It boasts seven trumpets, five trombones, six reeds and four rhythm players. Surely Local 802
is happy, but while Longo thinks big, he doesn't write big. No massed sonorities a la Kenton.
The accent is on sparkling solos and charts where the texture of Longo's writing allows inner
voices and passing tones to be heard: Matt Snyder's bass clarinet on Coltrane's "Naima"; the
gossamer flutes and clarinets on "Love Dreams"; the remarkable arco of Lynn Christie and the
piccolo postscript by Frank Basile on a 5/4 bossa nova, "Day Spring." Dizzy's supersonic "Wee"
is the greatest challenge: Longo transcribed and orchestrated a Sonny Stitt solo for the six
saxes that is literally breathtaking. It has shades of Supersax and features great dueling solos
with memorable soli.
The connecting link between Aftermath and his latest trio recording, Still Swingin', is the
hauntingly beautiful "It Never Entered My Mind." Longo wrote a reverential score for the tune
on Aftermath, but he did not take a solo. He makes up for that with the same ballad on Still
Swingin', to the point where it is strictly solo. No rhythm. So much freedom that it's often
rubato and goes through many key changes.
Lots of freedom and stretch-out room for the rhythm section of bassist Ben Brown and
drummer Ray Mosca. On "Without a Song," you'd swear it was Ray Brown, with those waves of
bass triplets in the background that threaten to steal the spotlight from Longo. On the Rollins
line "Oleo" and "From This Moment On" the tempo reaches mach-three, yet Longo and Brown
insist on unison. Amazingly they pull it off, threatening to steal the show from each other.
(Well, as close as they can come to unison at that altitude: there are certain piano filigrees a
bass cannot duplicate.) Mosca is not given enough time in the limelight, but he makes the
most of the gaps he can find, and also contributes some tasty brushwork.
Two fine showcases for Longo: as arranger and as pianist, he reveals no weaknesses.
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Joe Lang – Jersey Jazz Magazine
Mike Longo’s New York State of the Art Jazz Ensemble is one of the unique big bands
around today. It is comprised of some of New York City’s finest unsung players. Most
of these cats are buried in studio and pit band work. When they get a chance to dig into
the kind of charts that are found in Longo’s book, it is like they were reborn. Their
second album, Aftermath (Consolidated Artists Productions – 956) is an exciting visit to
the world of modern big band music. Longo’s arrangements are challenging and
involving to both players and listeners. Steeped in bebop sensitivity, Longo knows how
to expand on that orientation without losing its creative and propulsive essence. The nine
tracks include seven Longo compositions, as well as an intriguing examination of John
Coltrane’s “Naima,” and a lush Kentonesque setting for “It Never Entered My Mind.”
This is a band that loves what it is doing, which comes through on every track.
While he has been spending a lot of time building and promoting the big band, Mike
Longo still finds time to remind us of his considerable abilities as a jazz pianist. Still
Swingin’ (Consolidated Artists Productions – 959) is a fine outing by the Mike Longo
Trio, with Ben Brown on bass and Ray Mosca on drums. There are pop standards like
“All or Nothing at All” and “I Didn’t Know What Time It Was,” jazz tunes like “Oleo”
and “Wildflower,” and a couple of original tunes, “The Night is Love” and “Bones.” It is
interesting to listen to the trio version of “It Never Entered My Mind” here, and the big
band version on Aftermath. This song just seems to put Longo in a wistful, romantic
frame of mind. His unusual frenetic treatment of “From This Moment On” should catch
your ear. I wish that all jazz albums were as accessible and enjoyable as this one. The
pace is varied, the songs first-rate, and the playing is creative and cohesive.
Click Here to Buy
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Arts
October 22, 1998
Beyond Dizzy
Pianist Mike Longo has played with countless jazz greats, but he
casts a long shadow himself
By Ron Wynn
Though he’s an accomplished soloist, composer, arranger, and bandleader, Mike
Longo is best known to most jazz fans as Dizzy Gillespie’s favorite pianist. But
Longo, who played with Gillespie from 1965 until the legendary trumpeter’s death in
1993, says their relationship extended far beyond the bandstand.
“Dizzy literally adopted my parents,” said Longo, whose trio will be making its
Nashville debut on Sunday at the First Church Unity. “The very first time that the
band played a long gig in Ft. Lauderdale, he asked me if I knew where there were
some hotels. I told him, man, you can come and stay with me. It ended up we had
the entire band staying at my house for 11 days; I hadn’t seen my parents at the
time for eight years, and everyone just had a wonderful time.
“My mother was a gourmet cook, and Dizzy loved to eat. He ended up adopting my
parents and would later always tell me he [Dizzy] was their number-one son. I’d
ask him, how’d you move ahead of me?”
In addition to Gillespie, Longo has played with many of jazz’s greatest stars from
almost the beginning of his remarkable career. As a high school student in Ft.
Lauderdale, he received an early professional education from his father, a bassist
whose combo worked regularly throughout the area. While in his father’s group,
Longo met another famous name, though few people then were truly aware of his
greatness.
“Cannonball Adderly was the band director at Dillard’s,” Longo recalls. “The woman
who was playing at his church died, and they needed a new pianist. I wound up
doing that for a while, and I told my father when he needed a saxophone player
that he should hire Cannonball. He showed up at one of our gigs and just blew
everyone away. Later, both of us were sidemen in Harold Ferguson’s band. Then he
went to New York, and that was the last anyone in Florida ever saw of Cannon; he
took New York and jazz by storm.”
Longo began playing piano at the age of 4, and his talents were immediately
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evident. After high school, he attended college at Western Kentucky, where his
friends and comrades included current Nashville mainstay Beegee Adair. After
graduation, Longo moved to New York and became the house pianist at the
Metropole in 1960, where he worked with bands led by trumpeter Red Allen,
saxophonist Coleman Hawkins, and drummers Gene Krupa, Zutty Singleton, and
Cozy Cole. In that setting, Longo learned to adapt his style to any situation. A
couple of years later came the fateful encounter that led to his long association with
Dizzy Gillespie.
“Dizzy was playing upstairs at the time, and I was working downstairs,” Longo
remembers, “and he’d have to walk past where we were playing to leave the club.
A couple of months later, some people told me that he had raved about my playing
in an international jazz magazine. About six months later, we started playing
together.”
Longo’s style, which fluidly amalgamates blues and bop, features stylish rhythmic
backing, crisp chords, and rigorous melodic and harmonic expressiveness. His
musical signatures were not only developed during the Gillespie years, but also
through playing small clubs and at the Metropole. While in various Gillespie
organizations, he rose to the position of music director, and he supervised the band
repertoire and hiring.
At the same time, he built an equally impressive reputation as a composer and
arranger. More than 70 Longo works have been recorded by such artists as
Gillespie, James Moody (another longtime friend and cohort who worked alongside
him in Gillespie’s band for years), Buddy Rich, and even contemporary players like
Branford Marsalis. Longo wrote most of the tunes on the acclaimed 1971
Grammy-nominated LP Portrait of Jenny (now, absurdly, out of print) and is
prominently featured on such classic releases as Swing Low Sweet Cadillac, The
Dizzy Gillespie Reunion Band, and one of his favorites, 1977’s Bahiana, which nicely
blends jazz with samba, bossa nova, and other Brazilian idioms.
Mike Longo’s achievements as a single artist and educator are just as exhaustive.
Most of his 15 albums as a leader, including his most recent, Dawn of a New Day,
have gotten rave reviews, and the current Longo trio, with drummer Ray Mosca
and bassist Paul West, has toured extensively both in America and abroad. As an
instructor, his pupils have included esteemed bassist Ron Carter (whom he tutored
in piano), violinist Regina Carter, and Moody, who took composition and arranging
lessons. He’s written eight books on jazz education and conducted countless master
classes and lectures.
Yet Longo’s not completely happy with the state of either jazz education or the
music itself in the late ’90s. “There’s a lot of tremendously talented young players
out here, and my rhythm section has worked with them, and they sound great with
us,” he observes. “Then I hear them in other situations, and it’s like, where’s the
soul? I blame some of this on the demise of apprenticeship; there’s so much
polarization in this country now, and I truly think much of that has come from the
conservative attitudes of the ’80s.
“You get too many players coming from jazz education backgrounds that haven’t
had a chance to get out there and work and learn. When I was coming up, you
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played with people like Cannon, Roy Eldridge, and Dizzy, and they’d say, if you’re
going to play that chord that way, then you need to do this, or if you want to play
that way, you’ve got to use this pattern. You’d have guys working in bands and
there’d be 40 other people who wanted that gig, so if you didn’t produce, you were
gone. Jazz education is great, but you can’t learn some things in an isolated
environment.”
Since the early ’70s, Longo’s taken on yet another task: that of part-time record
label executive. He’s headed the Consolidated Artists Productions (CAP) company,
specializing in both reissuing vintage releases and also recording new sessions for
artists ignored by the major labels. There are over 20 releases on CAP, among
them his own Dawn of a New Day and the mid-’50s sessions by the Dizzy Gillespie
Big Band, from one of the earliest State Department-supervised tours of South
America.
Besides his current trio dates, next year Longo will headline a new orchestra, the
New York State of the Art Jazz Ensemble, which will feature Moody as lead
saxophonist. He’s now writing a series of symphonic works with a jazz focus.
These, he says, “will really show the links between jazz and symphonic works,
rather than just somebody trying to fit jazz into a symphony context.”
Anyone who enjoys hearing beautifully played, expressive jazz in a trio setting
shouldn’t miss the Longo trio; it’s the type of treat that doesn’t happen all that
often.
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________________Tuesday, October 12, 2004 Review of Mike Longo - Oasis on CAP @ jazzreview.com Page: 1
http://www.jazzreview.com/cdreviewprint.cfm?ID=7903
Featured Artist: Mike Longo
CD Title: Oasis
Year: 2004
Record Label: CAP
Style: BeBop / Hard Bop
Review: Oh Yea........Mike Longo & his big band will hit you right where it counts with his dynamic, & I mean a
dynamic vocal big band CD project. I'm particularly moved, in that I too have a fine big band & know what
Mike has taken on. So, I look to Mike as a soul-mate within the big band idiom. Kudos must resound to Mike
regarding his prowess @ composing & arranging. His arrangement of Gershwin's eternal missive, 'Love
Walked In' was 'right in your face' perfect for their fine vocalist Hilary Gardner to lilt upon. (Note: I hate to
sound so mercenary Mike, but if you're willing to send me a copy of that chart, I'm honored to play it in my
big band.) This is a band with a flawless sense of crescendo & decrescendo.......Their unison work: In a word,
impeccable! This is a vigorous pro-active group with an inventive, virtuosic, technique. They play with an
energy that could be classified as unpredictable,but they perform their work with an astounding & consistent
high level of artistic intensity. They are definitely going to be heard from for awhile..............At least this
writer hopes so!!
PS: If they ever need a 'cameo' vocalist, I'm up for the challenge.
Reviewed by: George W. Carroll/the Musicians' Ombudsman
Copyright© 2004 JazzReview.com®. All Rights Reserved.______________________________________________

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