Sun & Shield
Don Aliquo's 5th solo release is a New York based affair, featuring veteran jazz masters Rufus Reid, bass, Jim McNeely, piano and the dynamic drummer Obed Calvaire. Recorded in Englewood, New Jersey in June 2010, the work features the quartet in a set of originals written mainly by Aliquo with a tune each by Reid and McNeely. The CD showcases Aliquo's sparkling and at times thoughtful compositions. It also debuts Aliquo's work as a jazz clarinetist. (an often overlooked solo instrument with deep jazz roots) Actually, his clarinet playing owes more to modern jazz artists such as David Liebman than to earlier traditional jazz and swing era models. The tune 'Redemption Blues' is an especially good example of his long, lean lines and harmonic ingenuity. The quirky 'Dawson Street Strut' sets the tone for this energetic date which consists of many musical surprises. Other stand-out tracks include Jonathan Wires' (see Wires' work with Aliquo on the disc The Affinity Trio) melodic gem, 'Once' and Aliquo's intense and soulful title track: 'Sun and Shield.' Also included are pieces contributed by veteran composers Reid and McNeely. 'Hiatus' by Jim McNeely finds Aliquo in Getz-mode displaying his beautiful sound and tonal control. A poignant and introspective ballad, 'Caress the Thought' is an example of Rufus Reid's mastery of the melodic and harmonic language of jazz. The recording presents some inspired playing by the consistently brilliant Reid and McNeely, but also showcases the young Obed Calvaire, whose spirited and creative playing is often a rhythmic catalyst for Aliquo. As for Aliquo, he displays a great deal of musical depth and musical influences including saxophonists Stan Getz, Joe Henderson, John Coltrane, Stanley Turrentine, Joe Lovano and Gerry Bergonzi. The best part however, is his ability to create a sound and style that is recognizable as his own!