If trumpeter Conte Condoli never quite got the same kind of reputation accorded to innovators like Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie, he could always be counted on for some excellent music. Although perhaps most widely known for his 20 years with The Tonight Show orchestra, before his death at the end of 2001 he had worked with some of the most important jazz artists of his era—Woody Herman, Stan Kenton, Gerry Mulligan to name a few. Following in the footsteps of a bop magician like Gillespie, he could pour out those notes with the best of them, and he got a sound from his horn that was hard to beat. Conte Condoli could play.
Sincerely, Conti (Conte and Conti seem to be interchangeable where this album is concerned), his 1954 quartet release on Bethlehem Records, now remastered and reissued by Naxos of America, demonstrates just how well. Working with pianist Claude Williamson (the Lighthouse All-Stars), drummer Stan Levey (who had played with Kenton, Gillespie and Charlie Parker) and bassist Max Bennett (Kenton and the Sauter-Finegan Orchestra), Condoli romps through a set of eight classic jazz compositions and standards from the Great American Songbook that highlights his bop chops and sweet tone. An absolutely fine jazz album, it has only one problem: at 24 minutes, there isn’t enough of it. Like most vinyl of the period, recording room was limited, and 24 minutes is just enough to whet the appetite. Still, for jazz fans and music lovers in general, Sincerely, Conti is a gift to cherish.
The set opens with a rapid-fire “Fine and Dandy,” which has the trumpeter testing the speed limit. The quartet slows down a bit, but not much for “Night Flight,” before taking a beautiful turn on the ballad made famous by Bunny Berigan, “I Can’t Get Started.” Their “On the Alamo” and “Tune for Tex” both swing. The Gershwin’s “They Can’t Take That Away From Me,” “Everything Happens to Me,” and a high speed “I’ll Remember April” round out this excellent album.
There are some reissues that were better off left in the vault. Sincerely, Conti is not one of them. Conte Condoli, Conti Condoli: spell it as you like, either way, it spells great jazz.[amazon template=iframe image&asin=B00K1JRVGQ,B00JVOXGC0]