Shawn Costantino,
Waltz for Anne
(independent, 2010)

Shawn Costantino leads a band with mainstream, well-written compositions and a few covers on Waltz for Anne, his debut CD. Costantino is credited with playing alto and tenor saxophone, flute, alto flute, bass clarinet and clarinet on the CD, although only it is only his saxophone that is really featured.

Costantino is a fine sax player, but what stands out are his six compositions. They are melodic and have well-constructed arrangements. They are six-and-a-half to eight minutes long, except for the 11-minute "The Touch of Your Lips." Most are opened quietly with either guitarist Andrew Synowiec (both acoustic and electric) or keyboardist Lincoln Cleary, with Costantino coming in to lead the band that also includes Jens Kuross on bass and David Hughes on drums. There are no rough edges, but the songs never slip into the tedium of "smooth" jazz.

The two covers, "Can't Buy Me Love" and James Taylor's "Don't Let Me Be Lonely," are a bit too straightforward and predicable to be interesting. However, Synowiec opens both nicely, with trippy electronics on the former and deft, subdued playing on the latter.

Waltz for Anne nicely balances a modern sound with a lyricism that should appeal to all jazz listeners.

music review by
Dave Howell

9 April 2011

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