By Andy Hermann | Published November 2018
Most people don’t think of Paterson, New Jersey, as a great jazz town, but maybe they should. Native son Jerry Vivino certainly makes a case for it by teaming with fellow Patersonians Bucky and Martin Pizzarelli, who provide many of the highlights on the veteran reedsman’s fifth solo album. Bucky, the elder Pizzarelli (father of Martin and John), was 91 when he recorded the three tracks he appears on here, and still can swing with the best of them, especially on the aptly titled “Paterson,” during which he solos over Martin’s strutting bass with youthful insouciance.
Bucky’s scene-stealing licks aside, Vivino’s saxophone is the star of this set, which hangs together nicely, despite being recorded with five different sets of players on both coasts. Vivino’s preferred style of playing is more tasteful than technical; his solos seldom overstay their welcome or venture far from the root chords. But his tone and timing on tenor, his main instrument here, are impeccable. He injects just the right hint of honk into his Sam Butera tribute, “Sam I Am,” and evokes the fluidity of Coltrane in just a few concise runs on “Spud Time.”
Throughout the set, Vivino gives his varied supporting cast plenty of room to shine—which becomes especially poignant on two numbers recorded in a quintet with trumpeter Lew Soloff (1944–2015). On the album’s fiercest track, “Category 5,” both Vivino and Soloff blow their instruments with gale-force intensity, making one wonder what else might have come from their collaboration, if it could have continued.
Coast To Coast: Coast To Coast; Spud Time; Body And Soul; Sam I Am; Paterson; Category 5; Here’s That Rainy Day; Lew’s Blues; Honeysuckle Rose; Miracles. (53:23)
Personnel: Jerry Vivino, tenor, soprano saxophone, alto flute, vocals; John Leftwich, bass (1, 2, 4); Bernie Dresel, drums (1, 2, 4); Andy Langham, piano (1, 2, 4); Ron Stout, trumpet (1, 2); Bucky Pizzarelli, guitar (3, 5, 9); Martin Pizzarelli, bass (3, 5, 9); Karl Latham, drums (3, 5, 9, 10); Ken Levinsky, piano (3, 5, 9, 10); Mark Sganga, guitar (10); John Arbo, bass (10), Mitchell Forman, piano (7), Kevin Axt, bass (7); Lew Soloff, trumpet (6, 8), Kermit Driscoll, bass (6, 8); Shawn Pelton, drums (6, 8); Brian Charette, piano (6, 8).