CD PICK OF THE WEEK, "Groovin Easy"
Johnny Adams, KNRY Radio 1240
If anything, this new release stresses Carl Rigoli's highly introspective side. On four of the nine selections he comes across as lonely and/or mournful. Ballad for Joel and Jean, Joel's Blues, Blue Lady, and If you Only Knew are typically lovely statements. His moods are extremely lyrical and emotionally moving.
The other five selections find him performing open, but relatively subdued. Bob Carr is mellow, simple, and evenly flowing, as he effectively switches from baritone to bass clarinet. John Rodby is both melodically and rhythmically stimulating at the piano. Mark Stevens is affecting with the sticks, and Richard Maloof grooves perfectly. The rhythm section, individually and as a whole, is very well recorded.
Though this set is formed within the familiar frame of the blowing session, the skill in preparation of the skeletal arrangements is such that one is given the impression of many pre-session midnight oil-burning. The arrangements are impeccably played and with honest vitality to boot. Rigoli's group is a compact quintet that gives him sound and sensitively propulsive support.
In 1999, I had the pleasure of writing the liner notes for his release,. Easy Street. In part I said, "To understand where Carl is coming from, you must understand the instrument." Carl not only understands the vibes and how it should be played, but as a teacher has been able to take it beyond its capabilities.