Inspired by the fire of legendary jazz greats, Vince Ercolamento brings saxophone playing to attention. To pursue his love for music, he graduated from college and immediately started touring with bands. Soon after Vince received an Endowment of the Arts Award which enabled him to study with renown saxophonist George Coleman. His career would eventually bring him to work with famous players as Jimmy McGriff, Cornell Dupree, and Bo Didley among others. From there he continued to play such venues as the Lionel Hampton Jazz Club in Paris, France with Lyle Lovett's vocalist Francine Reed and Texas Blues Guitarist, Sherman Robertson. Vince has played on many national commercials, soundtracks and as a guest artist on other professional recordings. He also leads his own jazz quartet and is a performer and arranger for the Rochester based group 'Prime Time Funk'. Vince has recently released his debut recording, 'Delightful Eyes'. This compact disc is comprised of original compositions, features Harold DReviews Jazz Improv Magazine Recording Review of CD 'Delightful Eyes' 1/03 National Music Publication By Bill Donaldson Vince Ercolamento has arrived to give the jazz world a hint of the scene in Rochester, NY, where most of the musicians on 'Delightful Eyes' live. Even Harlod Danko - who has built an impressive discography (not to mention a resume involving a who's who among jazz gurus like Mel Lewis, Lee Konitz and Gerry Mulligan) and who the last I heard was teaching at the New School-has joined the highly regarded Eastman School of Music. The non-Rochesterarian on 'delightful Eyes' is Canadian bassist David Young. I'm sure there is a story about how Young happened to be available for this June 2001 CD recorded, naturallyat the Eastman School of Music's Recording Studio. But that story would be a side bar to the final result. The story to be told about 'Delightful Eyes' involves Ercolamento's compositions, most of which hint at hard bop. The feature track, Two Finger Snap' surges forth, as if from a starting gate, in a burst of energy as trunpeter Mike Kaupa leads the two part harmony, Drummer, Steve Curry ringing out Latin allusions during the repeat. Once Ercolamento let's go and finds his own space during his solo after the slightly more than a minute first chorus, he reveals himself as a disciple of Coltrane, the tone and effortless glossolalia instantly reminiscent of the spiritual origins of jazz. More appropriately Ercolamento is a disciple of George Coleman who likewise has recorded inumerable classic recordings that could be studied note by note for their musical logic, similar to the way that vocalese masters appreciate the meaning of, and write lyrics for, unforgetable solos. What did Ercolamento do once he received a grant from the National Endowment of the Arts? He chose to study with Coleman. Having absorbed those lessons and applying them to his work with Jimmy McGriff or Bo Didley, Ercolamento has taken a respite from paying his dues to settle in the Rochester area and to now record the music that initially inspired him. The title track 'Delightful Eyes' consists of a unison one-note assertion followed by rhythm-section accent, followed by a simular but modulating give and takes until the tune resolves into a prodding swing section before the first theme starts all over again. 'One For Sal' creates some twisting and unpredictable melodic lines reminiscent of a piece that could just as well have been written for the Jazz Messengers as for Ercolamento's sextet. As in the Messingers, we here an out front aggressive and technically proficient saxophonist leading a tune by the force of his solos, even as he settles into the background to support an extroverted trumpeter. Even 'All Day Feeling' which one would expect to be ruminative and atmospheric by it's title, vitually brims over with energy, Ercolamentos' sound is always in control and his tone bright and engaging. When he develops improvisational force, one can't help notice the way Ercolamento dynamically slides into a note, starting at a normal volume and quickly opening up the tone to take advantage of it's full value for expressing the feeling of the moment or Ercolamento may trip along with eighth note triplets., minor details that color his work, on his way to development of a complete narrative without the confines of a single solo. The point being: Ercolamento's music is more than a series of notes. He invests each of the tracks with the feeling released by his own compositions. There are two exceptions to total self-composition status, though. 'Gingerbread Boy' is taken at a slower and more deliberate pace than normally heard, each note given it's full value, the final descents of theme avoiding the frequently played gravelly low notes and slippery slurring. It Turns out that the rational for the tunes pace is the creation of space for successive solos on the theme, starting with Young's and followed by Mark Manetta's. Indeed the inclusion of Manetta in the group is telling, for he broadens it's texture with a richness and a softness that compensate for the growling of Kaupa or the sheets of Ercolamento's sound. Not only that but Manetta's solos build into a conclusion. More importantly they make a mature, clearly understood statement along the way. The other track on Delightful Eyes not from Ercolamento's imagination and pen, so to speak is Mal Waldron's 'Soul Eyes'. Ercolamento perceives an opportunity for elaboration of thought through elongation of tone or unanticipated extension of phrasing, on which he settles into a persuasive balladic mode. Delightful Eyes won't be found in the bins of local Tower Records store. Due to marketing costs of ensuring such availability, but Vince Ercolamento's first self-led CD is worth the search. Rather than filling his premier CD with amish mash of all his influences, as is the mont of many other artists once they attain the opportunity to record. Ercolamento is consistent in the development and execution of his material. As a result, Delightful Eyes contains many of those delightful moments that make jazz such an enjoyable lifelong process of discovery. And Delightful Eyes reveals the sound of jazz scene far from that of New York City, even as it resides in the same state. ----- Rochester International Jazz Fest Rochester Democrat & Chronicle Review 6/7/02 Vince Ercolamento Jazz Quintet- By John Pitcher Thursday's concert opened with a fine performance by the Vince Ercolamento Sextet, a group featuring local artists, Mark Manetta, guitar, and Mike Kaupa, trumpet. This is a small Ensemble, but it has a big band sound. Ercolamento is an expert saxophonist and an imaginative composer. His 'Two Finger Snap' was a red hot piece in the swing tradition. In 'Delightful Eyes' he revealed the ear of a truly sensuous arranger anko on Piano, David Young on Bass, Mark Manetta on Guitar, Steve Curry on Drums, and Mike Kaupa on Trumpet. These compositions have a distinct originality that shines through along with his soulful playing. Vince continues to thrive as a creative force in today's music.
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