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Review: Peter Cardarelli's Bratislava Blue

Peter Cardarelli is something of a jazz throwback. He calls people brother, man and cat, and has played all over the world, including many hardworking years on the jazz/blues circuit in the United States where he performed with artists such as B.B. King, Cool and the Gang and Jay Leno. He has even done the going sober and teaching at university gig.
These days sax player Cardarelli, who hails from Boston and reluctantly dates himself in his early forties, calls Bratislava his home as much as anywhere else. Last Saturday night in the Old Town in Bratislava, Cardarelli celebrated the release of his new CD, Bratislava Blue, a collection of nine straight-forward mostly swing/blues numbers recorded in Slovakia.


Peter Cardarelli cuts loose at the lauch of his newest CD.
photo. Lenka Kupečková

Bratislava Blue

By: Peter Cardarelli
Available at: music stores throughout Slovakia
Rating: 6 out of 10

Peter Cardarelli is something of a jazz throwback. He calls people brother, man and cat, and has played all over the world, including many hardworking years on the jazz/blues circuit in the United States where he performed with artists such as B.B. King, Cool and the Gang and Jay Leno. He has even done the going sober and teaching at university gig.

These days sax player Cardarelli, who hails from Boston and reluctantly dates himself in his early forties, calls Bratislava his home as much as anywhere else. Last Saturday night in the Old Town in Bratislava, Cardarelli celebrated the release of his new CD, Bratislava Blue, a collection of nine straight-forward mostly swing/blues numbers recorded in Slovakia.

Many of Slovakia's best Jazz musicians perform on this, Cardarelli's latest CD, including vocalist Peter Lipa, guitarist Juraj Burian, and drummer J. Dodo Šošoka. According to Cardarelli, Bratislava Blue's eight original compositions were written with these players in mind.

Lipa appears on two tracks: I'm leavin' Tonight, an upbeat 12-bar blues piece that showcases his famed scatting, and You Never Told me Why, a slower, moodier piece that also contains one of Cardarelli's best sax solos. Lipa aside, the CD features a sextet - guitar, drummer, piano, bass, trombone and sax. The compositions and arrangements are spare, usually with a two part horn arrangement starting things off and then a lot of room for improvisations. You won't hear any wrong notes on Bratislava Blue, but too often the players, or the rhythm section behind them, don't do enough with the space they are given.

Anyone who has ever seen Cardarelli live agrees that he is a superb musician who knows how to make a gin-joint bounce. Bratislava Blue picks up towards the end, largely because the improvisation becomes more spirited. On the last two tracks, Cardarelli shows his diversity as a musician, going from a slow, sultry sax solo into an upbeat hard-bop approach set against a rhythm section that begins to take more chances.

Still, as is often the case with Jazz, the CD may be pretty good, but the live version is better.

Peter Cardarelli plays regularly at Jazz Café in Bratislava and throughout Slovakia. June 2 he will be performing at St. Martin's cathedral in Bratislava with Peter Lipa.

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