Label: Outside In Music, 2018
Personnel – Lucas Pino: tenor saxophone, bass clarinet; Alex LoRe: alto saxophone; Nick Finzer: trombone; Mat Jodrell: trumpet; Andrew Gutauskas: baritone saxophone; Rafal Sarnecki: guitar: Glenn Zaleski: piano; Desmond White: bass; Jimmy Macbride: drums + guest Camila Meza: vocals.
Lucas Pino is a great horn player who makes use of his well-developed sound to brighten up concert rooms in New York (I saw him playing twice, at Smalls and Cornelia Street Cafe). He formed his No Net Nonet band in 2009 and since then, the group has released three albums - No Net Nonet (2015), The Answer Is No (2017) and recently That’s a Computer (2018). With the exception of the debut album, which features a different drummer, all of them share the same musician lineup.
The new album opens with “Antiquity”, a delightful composition by altoist Alex LoRe, whose sophisticated orchestration does justice to its attractive legato and harmonic riches. The piece features fluttering orchestral passages and awesome solos by the two saxophonists, both ravishing lyricists with the ability to construct emotionally stirring statements.
Showcasing solos by almost everyone in the band, “Horse of a Different Color” carries an empathic swing with moods comparable to Joe Lovano’s. Pino on tenor and trombonist Nick Finzer start expansively over a swinging tapestry. After them, comes trumpeter Mat Jodrell, whose slower, bluesier tones ease the navigation, and then Zaleski demonstrates why he is a first-call pianist. LoRe is followed by Andrew Gutauskas, who delivers rock-solid hooks with the baritone and welcomes guitarist Rafal Sarnecki, who concludes the cycle with Grant Green’s airiness.
Cumulative layers of elongated held notes introduce “Film at 11”, a ballad that attains a peak when Zaleski hits a higher register. Abundant doses of tradition can be found everywhere throughout the record and “Look Into My Eyes” is another composition shouldering typical twists and churns of the past without making an extra effort to stretch into bolder new affairs.
Both “Frustrations” by Pino and Sarnecki’s “Sueno De Gatos” feature guest Camila Meza on vocals. Regardless of the songs’ different natures - the former is a ballad; the latter is a mutable Latin-tinged endeavor with lyrics in Spanish by Pablo Neruda - none of them really stuck. The album finalizes in a festive pop-ish mood with “Baseball Simulator 1000”, a Nintendo game theme whose composer is unknown.
Experiencing a decrescendo in terms of interest while listening to the album, I deduce that some tunes lack in the tension-release department, with the band adopting a neater, bland, and somewhat commercial approach that failed to make a better impression.
01 - Antiquity ► 02 - Horse of a Different Color ► 03 - Film at 11