John Polito,
Crossing the Line
(Green Note, 2001)

Composer/pianist John Polito knows how to share the spotlight and, through his generosity, his music shines.

On his debut CD, Crossing the Line, Polito's piano and keyboard skill is intricate and fluid, but the supporting talent that he's assembled adds astounding depth. On the opening track, Joe Nazzaratta's soprano sax builds to the titled "Euphoria." On the vast, emotional "Time and Space," Ramiro Belgardt's cello adds a resonating counter-melody that complements the piano perfectly. Belgardt's duets on "Union" and "Heaven Knows" also evoke strong reactions, a beauty revealed to the listener's soul.

The quick-paced "Aurora Alegre" opens with Spanish guitar and features Paul Witt's trumpet solo as it conjures images of ruffled skirts swishing above the polished dance floor. The remaining tracks return the listener to a welcoming relaxation. Even "In Motion," with its up tempo violin, cello and keyboard interplay, is soothing. "Safe Passage" feels very safe, as does the only piano solo, "Home."

Crossing the Line leans more toward jazzy classical than toward classical jazz, but either way, it's a fine first effort. I'll be listening to it often -- when the day's been a little too stressful or when I just need to experience the beauty created by this talented ensemble.

[ by Julie Bowerman ]
Rambles: 12 January 2002



Buy it from Amazon.com.