by Susan Frances
Album: Five Play Live from the Firehouse Stage
Artist: Five Play
Label: Diva Jazz Orchestra Ltd.
Exploring the vast palette of straight-ahead jazz from swing, bop, samba, torchlight blues, and burlesque/Vaudeville-style minstrels, Five Play shares their expansive repertoire on their live recording from the Firehouse Stage, a club located in Johnson City, New York. A quintet comprised of the rhythm section and two horn soloists from the Diva Jazz Orchestra, Five Play amasses a bright and uplifting collection of cover tunes and originals that celebrate the jazz mode of expression.
“Just Squeeze Me,” a Duke Ellington customized piece, is a fine sample of the quintet’s ability to interpret the burlesque dialogue as reedist Jami Dauber and brass player Janelle Reichman strut and stroll across the sensual swells of the melodic progressions generated by pianist Tomoko Ohno, bassist Noriko Ueda, and drummer Sherrie Maricle. The five-piece jazz combo enter into the realm of torchlight blues on Noriko Ueda’s original work “Uneven Pieces” as Reichman’s saxophone twines elegant squiggles around the glistening sparkles detailed by Ohno’s keys. The swinging rhythm anchoring Tomoko Ohno’s original contribution “The Pilot” gives Ueda’s bass the opportunity to make independent statements with some freestyle romping that works as a catalyst for the horns and piano keys. Soon, everyone is contributing to the frolicking arrangement.
Trussed in a sultry samba gyration, “Samba de Sorvete,” another original work written by Ohno, inspires gaiety and warmth in the listener as the horns shimmy and sway while the rhythmic beats of the keys fire up the track to a Latin-chic sizzle. The bopping pulse of the drums elevate Jimmy McHugh’s jazz standard “I Can’t Give You Anything but Love” to an upscale nightclub bustle, inviting the reeds and brass to make extemporaneous journeys that infuse frilly embellishments along the track. The bluesy ballad “Unexpected” features a slow wandering clarinet played by its author Janelle Reichman. The delicate ripples produce a culinary of meditative sensations. The execution is positively magnetic.
The five-piece collective Five Play embraces traditional jazz idioms and keenly whittles contemporary interpretations from classic arrangements. From the brisk rhythmic beats and blustering flurries of swing and bop to the slow simmer of burlesque and blues, Five Play enjoys playing all of these facets of jazz. Their performance shows their inclination for making magnetic interpretations.
Sherrie Maricle – music director and drums
Tomoko Ohno – piano
Noriko Ueda – bass
Jami Dauber – trumpet and flugelhorn
Janelle Reichman – tenor saxophone and clarinet