MIKE LONGO TRIO LIVE
After 42 years as a New York-based jazz pianist with 17 albums under his own name and 22-years of performing with Dizzy Gillespie, Mike Longo has finally recorded his first concert album, Mike Longo Trio Live, and it was worth the wait. Working in one of jazz’s most traditional settings, the intimate acoustic piano trio, Longo demonstrates all the dynamic subtleties, melodic refinements and rhythm patterns that can only come from a master of the jazz genre. One of only a small handful of current musicians who bridge the gap from be-bop into the
contemporary era -- bringing the best traditions forward, while adding all the lessons they have learned to create something new -- Mike Longo practically teaches auniversity Masters Class with the music on this new album. It was recorded in the Fall of 2002 at The Detroit International Jazz Festival with bassist Santi Debriano and drummer Ray Mosca. Longo brings impeccable credentials to the project -- he started his career with Cannonball Adderly, studied under Oscar Peterson, became the pianist and musical director in Dizzy Gillespie’s band, wrote for and performed with countless top jazzsters, and authored nine books
teaching music. "A musical performance is like a baseball game or any athletic event," Mike explains. "There are rules and things that are set, but no one really knows what is going to happen. You’re just reacting to the circumstances around you and you wait to see how it turns out. A good concert derives from ‘spontaneous counterpoint’ that has a depth to it that enables you to improvise music
that stands up to analysis as if it was composed. That’s what we endeavor to do." On Mike Longo Trio Live (on the CAP label), Mike tips his hat to some of his musical influences--Dizzy, Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, George Gershwin and John Coltrane -- and in the process shows what he learned from horn players translated into piano performance. This concert was the first time this trio had ever performed together, although Mosca has toured and recorded with Longo for years, and Mike has played on two occasions in other bands with Debriano. In addition, the album is exactly representative of their set. The late Dizzy Gillespie’s presence is felt on three of his tunes -- "Fiesta Mojo" ("It’s like instant Prozac because it immediately gives you a warm, happy feeling"), "Tin Tin Deo" ("Dizzy stayed in the Latin groove, but Ray Mosca took me to 4/4 in there for awhile although we return to
the Latin rhythm for the vamp so what we are improvising resembles a rondo form by returning back to the main section") and "A Night in Tunisia" ("One change from Dizzy’s version is our atonal contrapuntal texture near the end, but we always finish with Diz’s final notes").
The trio tackles two Monk tunes -- "Rhythm-A-Ning" ("We didn’t know we were going to play it until that moment") and "‘Round Midnight" ("I don’t use the standard changes because of all the times I played it with Dizzy, and his version took me to this deep, awe-inspiring musical place
where I always felt a godly manifestation of love"). "On one tour of Mexico, Monk was on the same bill and every night during his set I crawled under the wooden stage and layed directly beneath his piano to just absorb the sounds. Monk would say, ‘The trick is to play wrong and make it sound right. Go to the unexpected place where no one expects you to go.’ That’s what I learned