Bob Cozzetti - Trumpet and Acoustic Piano
Tim Gemmill - Tenor and Soprano Sax, Electric and Acoustic Piano
Steve Bartlett - Fretless Electric Bass
Bob Merrihew - Drums and Percussion

Bob Cozzetti and Tim Gemmill, originators and leaders of the Seattle-based Cozzetti-Gemmill jazz quartet, are justifiably proud of their debut album, Concerto For Padre. Featuring Cozzetti on acoustic piano and trumpet, Gemmill on tenor and soprano sax and electric and acoustic piano, Steve Bartlett on electric bass and Fred Taylor on drums, Concerto For Padre is the result of 13 years of sustained dedication, devotion and musical evolution.

As composers, conceptualizers and improvisers, Cozzetti and Gemmill are well aware of the rich legacy handed them from the masters of the American jazz past. Their influences include the immortal John Coltrane, the unique McCoy Tyner, the funky Horace Silver, and the Prince of Darkness himself, the great Miles Davis.

As well, Cozzetti and Gemmill have their other musical foot planted securely in the present. They use electric instruments as well as acoustic (notably electric bass and piano, in conjunction with acoustic piano, saxophone, trumpet and drums). They eschew the often overly-complex and self-indulgent freneticism of some of the '50s urban beboppers in favor of a more relaxed, subtle and gentle approach, reflective of the man to whom this album is dedicated, Louis S. Cozzetti, Bob Cozzetti's late father, who passed away in 1974.

Said Cozzetti, "My father was a quiet but powerful man who was beautiful, strong and persuasive. He was not a musician, but in terms of the quality of his life, he was an artist. He was always quiet, and in his late later years, he became almost serene. Concerto For Padre is our concerto for the Italian father who deeply touched us all."

Cozzetti and Gemmill began their musical partnership back in 1968 as the trumpet-sax section of various L.A., Boston and Seattle rock groups. In early 1970, they left rock 'n' roll and jointly formed their first jazz group, the Cosmic Revolution Jazz Sextet, with Bob on acoustic piano and Tim on tenor sax, with both of them composing and arranging.

Within two years, pianist Bob became adept on trumpet, and saxophonist Tim became knowledgeable on piano. Their new group, the Music Projection trio, featured Bob and Tim and a drummer, but no bass player. After relocating in New York City, they became known as Rorschach ("because our music was multi-directional, ever-changing, and psychologically similar to the well-known Rorschach test").

For more than five years Rorschach fared well in the Apple and elsewhere, appearing on the bill with such talents as Charles Lloyd, Mongo Santamaria, Larry Coryell and Ramsey Lewis.

In 1975, the trio added an electric bass player and became a quartet. In 1978, the name Rorschach was dropped in favor of a name that would reflect the co-leader relationship. This, the Cozzetti-Gemmill Quartet was born, and today, 13 years since 1968, their debut album, Concerto For Padre, is in the record stores.

"Contemplating Raindrops" opens Concerto, and is an apt title indeed. Years ago in New Jersey, Bob was walking his dog Astro, and watching the beautiful brooding clouds of an upcoming rainstorm. During this walk, the themes for "Raindrops" occurred to him.

With Bob Cozzetti on acoustic piano and Tim Gemmill on tenor sax, "Contemplating Raindrops" features an hypnotic tenor sax melody (doubled on piano and bass). The overall mod is reminiscent of some of the McCoy Tyner/John Coltrane outings, dark, dreamlike and sensitive. Steve Bartlett's electric bass solo in this piece is one of the highlights of the album, and Fred Taylor plays his drums with just the right amount of touch, taste and flare.

"Colony Four," written 10 years ago by Tim Gemmill, is a bouncy, cheerful 6/8 blues featuring Gemmill on soprano sax. In this trio cut (no piano), Gemmill's soprano sax frolics over Bartlett's walking bass and Taylor's always crisp and subtle drumming. The title alludes to our early immigrants landing on the East Coast of America.

Cozzetti and Gemmill conceived "China" while gigging in Denver, when they realized that China was exactly on the other side of the earth. Cozzetti uses parallel fourths and fifths on the piano to subtly suggest Oriental motifs, but to their credit the performers do not overdo such devices. Another strength of the piece lies in its use again of the Tyner/Coltrane influences, the tenor sax-acoustic piano format, with a kind of brooding. caravanesque ambience.

The second side of Concerto opens with "Cyclops." and is the only tune on the album that features Cozzetti's sterling trumpet work. Drawing from the stylistic traditions of Miles Davis, Cozzetti plays sparse, often staccato melodic lines, with brief flutters and bends, and extended harmonies. Gemmill's electric and acoustic piano provide a solid harmonic and rhythmic cushion, simultaneously exotic and contemporary, Tyneresque and yet personal. Fred Taylor's drum solo is a gem of unaccompanied, rapid-fire, low-key volume, with intricate inner rhythms played with taste, energy and exquisite control.

Cozzetti's unaccompanied acoustic piano solo on the title track Concerto For Padre is outstanding. He opens with a powerful, classically-oriented foray into the bass and mid ranges, and gradually emerges into a tender melodic section, played with sensitive compassion and elegant conviction. The element of serenity runs like a silver thread throughout the entire performance, and makes "Concerto For Padre" one of the most heart-felt highlights on this LP.

The concluding piece, "Captain Pike," named for their New York bass player Midge Pike (nicknamed "Captain Pike" after the original Star Trek captain) does not break the mood of "Padre," but extends easily out of it. With Gemmill improvising exceptionally well on soprano sax and Cozzetti playing acoustic piano, "Captain Pike" is a peaceful composition, melodic and tranquil, with the piano doubling the bass and melodic lines. Midge, well-known for his bass work in the '60s with Jackie McLean, Albert Ayler, Paul Winter and others, will be pleased indeed to know his old friends remember him well.

Concerto For Padre marks an auspicious debut for the Cozzetti-Gemmill Quartet. They display talent, conviction, enthusiasm, sensitivity and good taste. By respecting the great past of American jazz, and by expressing the soul and vision of their living present, they show great promise for the ever-evolving future.

Lee Underwood
West Coast Editor
down beat
Sept, 81

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