"With a nice personality and style, (Costanzo) has a feel for swinging the classics just short of infusing them with schtick and keeping their integrity intact."
- Chris Spector, Midwest Record
“...Jerry Costanzo delivers a song with a loving
nod back to the Rat Pack. I mean that in the best possible way...Andy Farber's Swing Mavens puts this far above schmaltz. Maybe it’s in the subtle interactions between Costanzo and the horns. Maybe it's the cool-cat finger-snap/bass introduction..."
- Mark Seleski, Jazz.com
"The divas have been getting all the attention the last few years but here's a cat that knows how to swing it 50s style and could give Steve Tyrell a few pointers on how to sharpen it up to get his groove back. Costanzo and his swinging pals know how to grab the Vegas vibe that most of us have heard about but never were old enough to really experience. It's not a time piece, just a good time that doesn't try to recreate, but exists in its own place bringing some authenticity along for the ride..."
- Chris Spector, Midwest Record
“The constants throughout “Destination Moon” are Costanzo's voice and sharp arrangements. He and the musicians get to the point. Costanzo’s lead is excellent, but solos by Andy Farber (tenor sax), Brian Pareschi (trumpet), Dave Glasser (alto sax), and Wayne Goodman (trombone) help give this selection extra punch It’s a solid, all-around effort that doesn’t disappoint”.
- Woodrow Wilkins, All About Jazz
“Costanzo is not a clone of Cole, Sinatra or any of those icons. His voice is smooth but has a slight gravelly quality. As all great singers do, he tells a story...Costanzo wows."
- Walter Kolosky, Jazz.com
“Now this guy can sing! Not only is Jerry's voice the perfect accompaniment to the smooth, upbeat, and incredible sounds and musical craftsmanship of Andy Farber and his Swing Mavens, but this album is just completely supersaturated with Jerry's passion and personality. In an era where jazz standards may not be the most popular musical style on the radio or on the shelves, Costanzo has both the ability and the potential to bring this wonderful genre back to the forefront of popular listening...”
- Dan Costa, New Paltz Radio
“In another time and place, Jerry Costanzo wouldn’t be interpreting the Great American Songbook. It’s likely he’d be conceiving it“
- Chuck Taylor, freelance writer and critic
Can’t We Be Friends? is Jerry Costanzo’s second CD as a leader. Released on Daywood Drive Records, it is a recording that is uniquely his own. “I want people to listen to it and know that it’s Jerry Costanzo and not a clone of the usual crooning suspects, although I do get inspired from many of my favorite legends of the past.” says Jerry. After compiling some of his favorite tunes, Jerry brought together a “Home Run” rhythm section that was up to the task: Tedd Firth (piano), Mark Sherman (vibes), Joe Cohn (guitar), Ben Wolfe (bass) and Jimmy Madison (drums).
East Of The Sun (West Of The Moon) is the first tune on the CD and pays homage to the George Shearing instrumental from the record That Shearing Sound. This sets the theme for the entire recording, described in the liner notes as “George Shearing meets The Nat King Cole Trio meets Milt Jackson”. “I absolutely love the sound of piano and vibes together. I conveyed my concept to my good buddy and world class reed man, composer and arranger Andy Farber, who I have been collaborating with for over 10 years now and who produced and arranged my first CD “Destination Moon” reveals Jerry. “He came up with an arrangement that I think is going to be my most successful cut.” The title track Can’t We Be Friends? comes next, once again arranged by Farber. The arrangement combines a ballad verse á la Sinatra with an up-tempo chorus emulating Sammy Davis Jr’s. version. Another winner. Third up is Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps, (Quizas, Quizas, Quizas). The inspiration for this one comes from a version performed by Desi Arnaz on an album called Babalu, where it’s done as a medium tempo Rumba. But instead of a Rumba beat throughout, the tune breaks into a medium swing after the first chorus with killer solos by Farber on tenor and Mark Sherman on vibes. It then falls back to a Rumba in the second chorus.
Track four, I Just Can’t See For Lookin’, was arranged by Tedd Firth (piano). Originally, Farber was commissioned to do all of the arrangements on the CD, but days before the recording he was sidetracked by a jingle with an insane deadline, so a few of the band members jumped in to help. Tedd agreed to arrange this one as well as track 6, Penthouse Serenade. “I discovered Just Can’t See For Lookin’ on the “B” side of a Nat Cole Trio 78 RPM.” says Jerry. “It is a pretty obscure tune given the fact that side “A” of the record was one of Cole’s most successful tunes: For Sentimental Reasons. Tedd did a great job with the arrangement as well as Penthouse Serenade where my inspiration came from the album “Forty Years - The Artistry Of Tony Bennett”.
Track 5, 8 and 9, Love Me Or Leave Me, Oh You Crazy Moon, and Mean to Me, were all arranged by Mike Carubia, another world-class arranger, composer and trumpet player. Love Me Or Leave Me was inspired by the Peggy Lee version. Oh You Crazy Moon was originally sung by Mel Torme and Mean To Me was inspired by the Dean Martin version. Track 7, You’re Driving Me Crazy is another Andy Farber arrangement where the inspiration came from a Billy Eckstine compilation album called Everything I Have Is Yours. Finally, track 10 Stairway To The Stars was inspired by the Johnny Hartman version and arranged by Dan Block. Dan is another solid reed-man and arranger who has shared the bandstand with Jerry on many occasions. Dan wrote the arrangement the night before the session and Jerry picked it up at his apartment on his way to the recording studio. Thanks to Dan for stepping up to the plate.
In a nut shell, this project is a fine tribute to some of Jerry Costanzo's favorite standards and singers. There is also an underlying theme hinting at romantic failures over the years.