Online since August 2002

Saxophonist comes into own

From the Winter 2002 issue.

In the Library
In the Library
By Dino Govoni

Whaling City Sounds: 2002

To hear sound clips or learn more about this release, Turbula recommends viewing its Amazon.com entry.

Boston-area saxophone phenom Dino Govoni retired to the library for his second outing as leader, literally. Not that the music was recorded in a room full of dusty tomes — that would interfere with the acoustics, one would think. The "In the Library" aspect of this feisty straight-ahead "live" quartet recording is that Govoni wrote the title track there, in the library.

This is labeled "live jazz," but not to mistake it for a set recorded in the night club replete with distracting crowd murmurs and the tinkle of ice in the glasses, the squeal of a cocktail waitress tripping over a protruding foot. Live in the studio is more like it, to give the sound the fresh and spontaneous feel. And that it does.

Govoni has assembled a crack band here — the muscular drumming of Bob Kaufman; the solid, supple, in-the-pocket bass of Mike Pope; and Henry Hey, a holdover from Govoni's first outing, "Breakin' Out," is a perfect foil for Govoni's forthright, comin' right at you sax tone. Like any great accompanist — Harold Mabern comes to mind — He makes it all sound so simple and easy when he's in the background, and when he steps forward for a too-brief solo, he amazes with his subtly and grace, a sometimes minimalist who doesn't mind leaning over toward the maxi end of the spectrum if the sonic occasion calls for it.

Govoni has come into his own, and has developed very much his own voice on "In the Library." Influences (I'd venture) are (early) Coltrane and Sonny Rollins, leavened by some of the George Coleman school. His — and the band's — sound is bright, without eschewing the dark undertones here and there. He breaks out the soprano sax on Chick Corea's "Again and Again," on which Hey contributes a delicate piano solo; and Dino sounds very 'Trane-ish and pungent on the tenor on Hey's "Get Your Goat On," like something off of Coltrane's "Crescent."

For fans of the straight-ahead quartet sound — sax in front of the rhythm section — this is a must-have CD. A new voice come into his own, with style, a touch of swagger, and a little bit of a chip on the shoulder, worn well.

Review by Dan McClenaghan. Dan is a writer living in Oceanside, Calif. Read his biography on his AllAboutJazz.com page.

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