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Buzz Amato: Muse Café

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Buzz Amato: Muse Café
Musical polymath Buzz Amato appears to be at the pinnicale of his powers

Recent publicity, the last of which was employed to launch what is billed at [at least} the 150th recording that Buzz Amato has produced, or performed on as keyboardist, or both the aforementioned. If not by inference, then certainly in words no less forcefully employed, reports also suggest that Mr Amato is now at the pinnacle of his compositional and pianistic – not to mention his orchestral – conception and powers.

Even if Mr Amato scales greater heights in the future; and when he does, even if he never achieves anything better than this [album], there is ample reason for Mr Amato to be proud of this impressive recording, Muse Café. The opener Mt Helicon is a joyous, dancing piece which engages you. It is followed by Muse Café [the song] a slow, gloriously funky elegiac piece with a blue and rueful feel. This features thoughtful, melodic soli by guitarist Chris Blackwell and Mr Amato, as well as a lovely soprano saxophone solo by Doug Payne.

Infinitely more colourful, as well as mystical and magical, is Melpomene, Urania and the exquisitely lyrical Sappho, Last Call. In each of those fine charts we hear the ability of Mr Amato to cross-pollenate his music with his knowledge of and considerable learning in mythology, astronomy, and literature. This really makes one wonder why Mr Amato ‘the musician’ is not yet also recognized as Mr Amato ‘the artistic polymath’. Nor, for that matter, is it possible to understand why he has not made more generous use of his extra-musical interests in his compositions. But not for long, one suspects…

Throughout the repertoire on this album – which includes a galaxy of not-so-easily recognized stars in the musical firmament [vocalist Melissa Ellen is certainly one of them] – it is Mr Amato who continues to ring in the changes in mood, structure, and tempo, making for a constantly interesting programme.

The considerable degree of balance and integration of melody, harmony, and rhythm, of composition and improvisation, of exploration, individuality, and tradition – all of these factors are impressively maintained throughout this wonderful recording.

Deo gratis…!

Music – 1: Mt Helicon 2: Muse Café; 3: Tickle Me Blue; 4: Angel in My Pocket Book; 5: Melpomene; 6: Round 12am; 7: Bossame Mucho; 8: Urania; 9: The Dream; 10: Sappho, Last Call; 11: Going Home.

Musicians – Buzz Amato: piano, Fender Rhodes, synthesizers and programming, and additional guitar; Doug Payne: saxophones, EWI, flutes and bass clarinet; Rick Hinkle: guitar [4, 7, 9]; Chris Blackwell: guitar [2, 4 – 6, 8]; Derek “D Roc” Brown: additional guitar [5]; Nick Perugini: additional guitar [5]; Joseph Patrick Moore: bass [6]; Bennie Sims: bass [10]; Louis Newsome: drums [2, 6, 10]; Timothy Courts: drums [7]; Melissa Ellen: vocals [4, 9]

Released – 2023
Label – Blue Canoe Records
Runtime – 51:33

 

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