Breath shows off Al's Ellington-influenced jazz writing and buttery cornet
tone, and he moves his singing style into Sinatra/Bennett territory to match.
Also included are three overlooked songs by Rodgers and Hart and Vernon Duke,
which should become standards. Fans of fifties and sixties Verve and Blue Note
sessions take note.
"Red Breath is very much a swinging,
straight ahead album...Like his horn, his voice exudes a warm, welcoming quality...His
solos are delightful because they are thoroughly musical, mostly exploring the
middle register of the horn, and never involving technical showmanship. His sound
and melodic lines are everything in his playing."
Improv, Vol. 4 No. 3
know Al in a blues context. This recording, Red Breath, celebrates his jazz side
- both as a fine cornetist with a tasty, burnished brass sound and as a vocalist.
His is a fresh voice, heartfelt and confident in the words he sings. And usually
they're his words...Basile's cornet sound is as singular as his voice, but rooted
in the deep tradition of horn aces Louis Armstrong, Bobby Hackett, Ruby Braff,
anf Harold "Shorty" Baker...Standards can be a fine reference point
for listeners, but too many artists use them as a crutch. Basile avoided that
"tired tune" syndrome by seeking out material by well-known writers
that was either unknown or underknown. For that, a Boston Celtics fan who loves
jazz would give him a Tommy point."
Franckling, an ASCAP - Deems Taylor Award winner for excellence in music journalism,
is United Press International's jazz columnist and a contributing writer-photographer
for JazzTimes, Jazziz, Jazz Improv and other publications.
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