Friday, May 19, 2017

Joe Mongelli and the Cape Jazz Crew - Washashore

WashAshore, features cool, contemporary performances of jazz and American Songbook standards, offering inspired playing by some of Cape Cod’s best-known jazz musicians. But that’s not what sets it apart from so many other standard albums. Inventive and skilled arrangements, carefully considering the listener’s point of view, and lively interplay among the musicians add dimensions that have garnered significant audience support and praise when performed live.

Joe Mongelli: flugelhorn, trumpet and all arrangements except tracks 3 & 8 (arranged by Fred Boyle and Joe Mongelli); track 7.; Fred Boyle: piano; Ron Ormsby: bass; Steve Langone: drums (except tracks 3, 4, 8); Bart Weisman: drums (tracks 4 & 8); Alan Clinger: guitar (track 6); Bruce Abbott: flute (track 4).

Joe’s unique arrangements, his range of style and high quality ensemble performances make WashAshore a consistently satisfying listen throughout. Beautiful Love, I Got It Bad, When I Fall in Love, Alfie, and Where or When/I Thought About You are standouts among the ten tunes on this recording.

Thirty long years he waited having suffered what was thought to be a career-ending injury. Joe Mongelli put his music career on hold while he raised and provided for his family. But the fire still burned. He recovered and kept his passion for playing and arranging while he worked a full time day job until he could one day re-emerge. In the interim, he composed, arranged and did jazz, classical, pop, big band and free music projects. He composed and recorded a group of 10 New Age/Techno tunes (Mind Like Jelly) in the ‘90s on which he played all parts. In 1999, following the death of his mother, he was inspired to write an orchestral solo piece for flute and clarinet entitled What’s In a Life? In 2002, he paid tribute to the victims of 9/11 with his solo trumpet/piano composition Elegy for 9/11. In 2003, he recorded a jazz CD entitled Now & Then, a compilation of his jazz recordings from the 1980’s contrasted with new smooth ones from the 2000’s. He appeared with and contributed compositions and arrangements to the Boston Horns Big Band playing his composition Rear View Mirror with Paqutio d’Rivera at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA. Finally, he can now re-devote himself completely to his music. His new CD WashAshore is a showcase of Joe’s arranging prowess and his unique trumpet voice which draw equally from his life experience and his training.

Joe received his Master’s Degree in music performance from Manhattan School of Music where he studied with Mel Broiles, long time principal trumpet of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Phil Smith, principal trumpet of the New York Philharmonic. As he prepared for a career as a classical trumpeter, his passion for jazz continued. During that time, he was privileged to learn from bop trumpeter Bill Hardman and he was a featured soloist in the Manhattan School Big Band and small group jazz ensembles. Between his graduate years at Manhattan School of Music and his undergraduate studies at New York University, Joe took private lessons with famed arranger Don Sebesky from whom he draws knowledge and inspiration to this day. While an undergraduate at New York University, he studied jazz performance with sax/flute jazz luminary Jimmy Giuffre, composer of Four Brothers.. Jimmy taught Joe to rely on his inner voice to inspire his jazz solos and to downplay reliance on technical bravado. 

Joe’s playing style can’t be put in a singular box. The cool influences of Miles Davis, Chet Baker, Art Farmer and even Chris Botti can all clearly be heard but that’s not all. There are also tinges of Clifford Brown’s bop lyricism , Freddie Hubbard’s hard bop/funk and Clark Terry’s playfulness. While he draws from all of these pioneers, Joe’s trumpet voice is distinct, some even say, unique.

His in-demand style has afforded him performances at top venues in the Boston area and on Cape Cod.