Dan Moretti Invoke Review
By: Bea Willis
Dan Moretti has been a mainstay artist on the jazz scent since the late 70s. His musical influences range from jazz and classical to funk and Latin jazz. Since the late 70s, he has seventeen recording as a leader. His breadth of performing and recording styles ranges a large spectrum including: Aretha Franklin, The Temptations, Mike Stern, Dave Samuels, Dave Liebman, Marvin Stamm, Dr. John, and The Crusaders.
Moretti is a full time Professor at Berklee College of Music in Boston and has been on the faculty since 1996. He was awarded the school’s Curriculum Development Award in 2006 for his popular on-campus course “Groove Writing.” Moretti is a faculty member of Berkleemusic.com – Berklee’s long distance learning school, where he teaches an online version of this course called Arranging Contemporary Styles to students all over the world. In 2008, his book Producing and Mixing Contemporary Jazz was released on Hal Leonard-Berklee Press. In 2008, he co-authored Essential Grooves which is required at Berklee for CWP majors. In 2009, Moretti was awarded the prestigious MacColl-Johnson fellowship for jazz composers, which enabled him to write and produce a project with an Italian traditional orchestra called Piccola Orchestra La Viola (POLV). From 2002 until the present, Moretti has been active globally, performing with artists like Nile Rodgers and Chic and performing his own music and presenting seminars in Italy, Turkey, England, Belguim, Holland, France, and Switzerland.
Invoke is Moretti’s latest offering, it features twelve original compositions, by Moretti. Joined by Mark Shilansky (piano), Jesse Williams (bass), Steve Langone (drums),Bengisu Gokce (violin), Dan Lay (viola) and Marta Roma (cello), the album has a purposeful introspective approach.
“November Sun” is the opening track. Moretti is on flute, which matches the lush sounds of the three strings. Set to a waltz pulse, the melody is richly orchestrated. Williams bass is big and warm as the three-part string ensemble builds to the melody. Moretti’s flute is exceptionally warm as he plays in a relaxed manner. The strings enter to add colors and support, making a clear arc and climax to the melody. Moretti’s flute solo starts with gorgeous harmonics and flutters, his chops on the flute are just as impressive as his saxophone, displaying his musical and advanced sense of melody and space. The strings do add a sonic richness and interesting color to the track, building supportive backgrounds under both Moretti’s and Shilansky’s solos. A wonderful start to his unusual and diverse recording.
“Invoke” begins with a brilliant building piano intro that develops to a melody played by Williams and Shilansky. Williams’ intonation is spot on as he plays in unison with Williams. Moretti joins, as the three flawlessly perform their lines. For the bridge, the rhythmic hits and addition of drums is a nice change of texture. Moretti’s solo is a masterful development of space, activity and melody. His tone is always robust, and his sense of time is never rushed or unclear, making for powerful musical solos. The decision to keep the solos short on this project is also testament to Moretti’s musical language and understanding of how to shape a solo. There is no time for unclear passages, each phrase must build and connect thematically. All of which Moretti does with passion and idiomatic style.
Moretti is never more inspired, his playing and creativity flow with abundant ideas and solid musicianship. Joined by a stellar cast of supportive players, his ideas are carried out with robust chemistry and adroit performances. Each track offers something to explore and enjoy. A listening pleasure with nice surprises a foot at every corner. Invoke will certainly evoke plenty of hours of pure enjoyment.
- Release Date: June 21, 2018
- Label: Dodicilune