By Daniel Krow
Playdate – Playdate – Posi-Tone Records PR8055, 49:23 ****:
(Wayne Escoffery, tenor and soprano saxophone; Noah Baerman, piano;Amanda Monaco, guitar; Vinnie Sperrazza, drums, Henry Lugo, acoustic bass)
Playdate is made up of three high school friends (Noah Baerman, Wayne Escoffery, and Amanda Monaco, who all attended the jazz program at New Haven’s Educational Center for the Arts together), plus bassist Henry Lugo and drummer Vinnie Sperrazza, who play with Baerman in his Noah Baerman trio. The group’s first CD, Playdate, is a delightful album that’s full of complex interplay and melodic invention.
High points of the album include Remember the Goldfish, which has a breezy, Brubeck-sounding melody and a careful restrained guitar solo from Monaco; Yes, Yes, Oh Yes!, a song written by the late James Williams, which starts with slow, “loungey” guitar from Monaco, but moves into a swinging tete-a-tete between Monaco and Baerman, with each taking turns playing eight bar solos that gain intensity from Sperrazza’s shifting tempos; T-Time, which has a funky bass line that sounds like it’s being played by both Henry Lugo and Baerman’s left hand, and Milan Kundera, a tribute to the Czech author that has a buoyant triumphant melody.
As a group, Playdate have an amazing chemistry together. Their generosity as players is highly commendable and leaves one impressed with the unit as a whole, not just as individual players. I highly recommend Playdate’s self-titled album and look forward to their next CD.
TrackList: Copper Tone, Remember The Goldfish, Yes, Yes, Oh Yes!, T-Time, Baby Man, Milan Kundera, Memday