Bassist and composer Amanda Ruzza has recently released her newest CD “This Is What Happened.” The hard driving, funk ridden collection of 7 songs features Ruzza on her electric bass and an equally talented cast of New York’s finest. Ruzza is joined by Mauicio Zottarelli on drums, Alex Nolan on guitar, Mamiko Watanabe on Rhodes, Cliff Korman on piano and Chris Stover on trombone. The recording most notably features David Binney and Lucas Pino on saxophones. Binney is featured on altos and soprano saxophones. Pino plays tenor and soprano.
From the opening cut Larry and I it is obvious that I was going to L O V E this recording – and I do. Binney’s opening alto sax unison with Ruzza’s bass caught my attention immediately. Ruzza went on to display her talents both slapping and fingering her electric bass. The sound of the classic “slap bass” pioneered by Larry Graham in the 70s and popularized by players like Marcus Miller in the 80s is used sparingly by Ruzza. It somehow sounds fresh and new again.
Fresh and new is how David Binney sounds as well. The grooves he solos over may sound similar to Chick Corea’s Electric Band recordings; however his sound is not at all like Eric Marienthal or even David Sanborn. He has his own unique sound and approach without an overabundance of edge in the sound.
The remainder of the recording could be characterized as “modern fusion” for lack of a better term. Whatever you call it, the odd combinations such as soprano saxophone and trombone work well here. These two instruments in the wrong hands could be a disastrous instrumentation. Pino and Stover navigate the melody and solos on Pagao and Gin flawlessly.
All in all his Is What Happened” includes a variety of Brazilian influenced, rhythmic infused songs expertly executed by Amanda Ruzza and her group. The production values employed in the studio give this music a crisp new sound – unlike the glossy sheen of recordings from the 1980s.
If you are a fan of contemporary, electric jazz with great grooves you will certainly love “This Is What Happened” by Amanda Ruzza. The sound and style may be familiar but the creative twists and turns make this recording stand out.
You can find out more about Amanda Ruzza at www.amandaruzza.com