Mike DiRubbo – Chronos – Posi-TonePR 8072, 50:24 ****:
(Mike DiRubbo, saxophones; Brian Charette, B-3; Rudy Royston, drums)
When we last visited with saxophonist, Mike DiRubbo, in August 2009, reviewing Repercussion, we advised that it was a smart move on the part of Posi-Tone to sign Mike to their roster, as he is a saxophone (largely alto) man for all seasons. He has the winning combination of being a lyrical player, yet can also skirt the edge of more outside playing, but never failing to keep the swing quotient high. I have followed his career as he moved between the Criss Cross and Sharp Nine labels. His tone, to me, has shades of the best of Jackie McLean.
Chronos is a saxophone, organ, and drum trio issue, which always peaks my interest. DiRubbo and organist Charette share the song writing duties here and the acoustics with producer, Marc Free, and engineer, Nick O’Toole continue the Posi-Tone tradition of having superior sound, both well mixed and clear as a bell.
“Minor Progress” opens with Mike blowing in a boppish vein with Brian Charette providing organ fills and Rudy Royston propelling the groove. DiRubbo’s talent in playing the upper register of the alto with speed yet fully in control and locked into a groove continues. Charette is a new name to me and he is another organist to keep an eye on. Royston has a great drum solo mid song.
The title track sets a spacey opening before Mike begins a bluesy run. Charette’s comping brings to mind a merging of a Larry Young with Charles Earland on this track – definitely stirring the pot. “Lilt” is an appropriate title for a gentle track that cools down the previous heat and Mike sounds relaxed but gently swinging.
“Rituals” gives Mike the chance to play over a riff that Charette sets and it works nicely. “Nouveau” is a ballad where Mike blows sweetly, a romantic mood is set. “Lucky 13” is a stone groover in the best sax/organ tradition.
“Excellent Taste” is shown by Charette’s tune-this is comfort food for fans of the idiom that Lou Donaldson set with so many Hammond B-3 players in the 60s. So is “Eight for Elvin” which seems to be written as a tribute to Elvin Jones – but who knows. What I do know is that Charette digs in for many choruses of kick-ass organ grooving. DiRubbo ends Chronos with “More Physical.” It has a bit of an Island flavor before heading out onto uncharted waters.
Posi-Tone has hit pay dirt with Mike DiRubbo again. Last time they featured Mike with vibist Steve Nelson and that was also a winning combination. I bet they will keep us guessing which instrument adds to his next CD to keep our interest peaked. I can hardly wait….