Swung Drawn & Altered - Widespace II
|Swung Drawn & Altered
|Iron City ( Percussion Mix)
|Ballad For Dean
|Skin Of My Teeth
|Stop Tryin' It On
|Thurlow Park Blues
Dino Coccia - Widespace (Widespace Records cat.no.WSROO1)
by Gordon Baxter
It is rare that drummers get to release albums of their recordings, especially non-singing drummers. "Wide Space" combines tracks from several recent sessions where British drummer Dino Coccia worked alongside some of the best British blues and jazz musicians. The end result is at least equal to the sum of its parts.
The album opens in jazzy mode with a classy version of Art Pepper's "Rita San." This is the first track from a session recorded with top British saxman Alan Barnes, and award-winning pianist Dave Newton. The same line-up plays on the ensuing "Ballad for Dean" (a Barnes original) before a blues interlude lasting a couple of tracks. Then, "No Frills" proves there really is a point where blues and jazz meet and overlap. The excellent Bob Haddrell is on vocals.
The third Barcode (Alan Glenn) joins Coccia and Haddrell for Slim Harpo's "I'm A King Bee," before handing over to British Blues Boom veteran, Gordon Smith. Smith is a fine guitarist and singer, and shows his virtuosity by serving up fine interpretations covering a range of tunes: Lonnie Johnson's "Tomorrow Night," "Hey Renee" (a Smith original), and Clifton Chenier's "Comin' Home." The diversity presents no problem to Coccia, however.
After another from the Barnes session ("More Thrills") another Blues Boom Veteran, Shakey Vic, turns up on vocals and harp for a couple of originals ("Resolution Blues" and "Stop Tryin' It On"). So far so (very) good, but then we get "Thurlow Park Blues." This is an out-take from the sessions for Sonny Black and the Dukes excellent "Heart and Soul" album. It is hard to see why it never made it. Guitarist Black and saxman Barnes combine perfectly with the engine room (George Pearson and Coccia) to deliver one of the best slow blues numbers around.
On the last track you finally get to hear Coccia do his thing. The title track opens with a near perfect drum solo, i.e. not too long, not too repetitive. Barnes then joins in on sax, or strictly speaking, on a range of saxes. He never detracts from the stalwart role played by Coccia, and shows how well sax(es) and drums can combine in a duo.
"Wide Space" is a very fine album that nicely straddles the blues and jazz border. Unless you pay special attention, it is rare that you notice a good drummer. If they were not there (or were bad), you would be very aware of it, but if they are good, they just blend in unnoticed. Coccia is one of the very best blues/jazz drummers on the British scene. When you combine his talents with some of the best British blues and jazz musicians around you would expect good things to happen, and on "Wide Space" they certainly do.
Dino Coccia's album WIDESPACE is dedicated to Dean Hajir and all the former pupils, helpers and staff at Thurlow Park School in South London. The closure of the school by Lambeth Council left a great gap for all those who had been involved in its outstanding achievements as a special needs school for children with Mild Learning Disabilities. Dino thanks all those who have helped Dean through their contributions on this CD, they are:
Bob Haddrell, David Newton, Rod Demick, Tim Wells, Shakey Vick, Jim Ydstie, Dave Briggs, Alan Glen, Gordon Smith, Bernie Pallo, Alan Barnes, Sonny Black, George Pearson and Roger Cotton. He also wishes to thank fellow drummer George Gostlow for all his advice and encouragement.