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ClassicsOnline Home » DEL GATTO, Lew: Katewalk
The Jazz Report
By Joe Grandwilliams
Good Times (New York)
It's taken a longtime but the wait is worth it. After 25 years, veteran New York saxophonist Lew Del Gatto finally make his first CD as leader and the result speaks for itself. With an awesome set of players including Steve Turre, Randy Brecker and Victor Lewis, Katewalk is a mature and lyrical work, full of originality and personality.
Del Gatto's versatile sax has been active in the NYC scene for years and even though colleagues thought he was one hell of a musician, he was not personally satisfied. So he kept on shedding, studying and developing his personal style. All the while keeping busy in the studio and in touring bands. Del Gatto has been featured on the recordings of artists from Aretha Franklin, Aerosmith, Harry Connick Jr., Buddy Guy to Steely Dan. For 19 years he has been and still is a member of the Saturday Night Live Band on NBC-TV (USA).
Saxophonist, arranger and writer, Del Gatto's music abilities were obvious from an early age. During his training at the Manhattan School of Music, Del Gatto already went on the road with Sal Salvador and appeared on Johnny Carson's Tonight Show Band. Since then, he's busied himself in the studio world, in film scores and on the road with the likes of Frank Sinatra, Buddy Rich, Tony Bennett and Phil Woods.
Finally though, Del Gatto felt it was time.
Beautiful, robust, mature and lyrical, these are just some of the terms that come to mind on Lew Del Gatto's Katewalk. Swinging his butt off with a tenor sax sound that is soulful and warm, Del Gatto's prodigious talent finally gets a proper showcase. Joined by a stellar set of jazz veterans that collectively demonstrates some fine ensemble playing and creative solos, Del Gatto has taken his overdue turn in the spotlight.
Drummer Victor Lewis has played with virtually everybody, and for good reason - his time is propulsive, he listens, reacts, inspires and infuses the music with energy. Chip Jackson is one of the best bassists in the world - his great sound, amazing chops, solid time and expressive solos are here as they were for the five years he spent with Elvin Jones. Joe Cohn (son of tenor great Al Cohn) is a guitarist who doesn't rely on electronic gimmicky, just great and pure guitar sound and consistently interesting ideas. In addition to his fine soloing and emphatic comping on both piano and organ, Ron Feuer also contribute beautifully reharmonized charts on three tunes. Trombonist Steve Turre (a cohort from the Saturday Night Live Band) and Lew's long-time friend Randy Brecker are both familiar names to jazz fans, and they deliver what you'd expect - impeccable ensemble playing and creative solos full of fire and finesse. As liner note writer Rick Wald writes, "this is one hell of a band."
Recorded direct to 2-track on 10th and 11th September, 1997, at Sound On Sound Studios in New York City, Katewalk is named for the CD's first tune - an original by Del Gatto inspired by his wife, Kate and her unusual walk. There are four other Del Gatto originals and some classic standards (including Caravan, Autumn Nocturne and My One And Only Love) re-interpreted with taste and style. Ensuring the music was perfectly captured is another great saxophone player and Del Gatto pal, George Young, who acted as booth producer.
The result is a warm, vibrant swinging CD you'll dig listening to for a longtime.
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DEL GATTO, Lew: Katewalk