Michael Costantino | The Song Inside the Tune Review
Familiar Yet Fresh: Michael Costantino’s The Song Inside the Tune
by Darnell Jackson
The Song Inside the Tune is jazz pianist Michael Costantino, a Berklee School of Music alumnus, offering a refreshing take on an eclectic mix of standards and popular classics while injecting an unexpected reimagining into the mix. Costantino’s considerable musical experience, having graced a myriad of TV shows and off-Broadway musicals as both a sideman and conductor, is reflected in the album’s diversity and technical proficiency.
The album commences with a captivating rendition of Jerome Kern’s “Yesterdays,” which instantly sets the tone of the album – understated sophistication coupled with soulful engagement. The closing track, an extended version of Nino Rota’s “Speak Softly, Love,” known as the theme from “The Godfather,” encapsulates Costantino’s melodic spirit, emphasizing his cohesiveness and musical proficiency to build a journey.
The aptly titled “The Song Inside the Tune” perfectly captures Costantino’s musical philosophy, which is a deep exploration of each tune’s emotional core. The album offers other surprises, such as Bill Wither’s “Just The Two Of Us” and the unexpected rhythmic shift in Strayhorn/Ellington’s “Satin Doll,” showcasing his vast musical knowledge and a unique interpretative lens.
Each track in the album carries Costantino’s distinctive touch, blending familiarity with novelty. This attribute is most evident in his bold transformation of Beethoven’s “Pathetique” into a sublime jazz ballad. The rendition illuminates Costantino’s innovative and creative spirit, breathing fresh life into a timeless classic.
The cohesive trio, with Harvie S on bass and Thierry Arpino on drums, complement Costantino’s narratives, enhancing the album’s overall richness. S’s nuanced bass undercurrents and Arpino’s rhythmic adaptability bring additional charisma to the album. Listeners will be pleasantly surprised by the rhythm and stylistic diversity of the jazz trio album.
The Song Inside the Tune is a welcome contribution to a music landscape often swayed towards innovation over tradition. The album emphasizes the enduring allure of classic melodies while illustrating the magic of respectful, intuitive, and technically proficient performances. Costantino brings us an album with the transformative power of melody and rhythm, culminating in a moving, memorable musical journey. For seasoned jazz enthusiasts and casual listeners alike, The Song Inside the Tune is a journey well worth taking.
The Song Inside the Tune
Release Date: April 17, 2023