Music : Notable seasons
Here is John Alaimo at his most relaxed - on solo piano, playing his way through the seasons with what sounds like conversational ease in rippling notes, natural phrasing, and fluency. His latest CD, "Songs for Three Seasons," is the musical version of a warm breeze made up of primarily old favorite tunes translated to light jazz.
A familiar and popular presence in the Vineyard's musical talent pool, Mr. Alaimo performs in a way that makes listeners feel as if they've being invited to eavesdrop on the tributes of a relationship being forged among the composer, the instrument, and the musician. From Richard Rogers and Moss Hart's "Spring is Here" to Kim Gannon and Josef Myrow's "Autumn Nocturne," the intimacy expressed by Mr. Alaimo's acoustic piano becomes contagious.
The 18 tracks, each with titles of spring, summer, and fall seasons (his previously released "Seasons Greetings" CD was dedicated to winter) are classics: "It Might As Well Be Spring" (Rogers and Hammerstein), "The Summer Wind" (Mercer and Mayer), "September Song" (Weill and Anderson). Without dramatic flourish or excess, traditional melodies are translated into easy jazz. Making its debut is "Vineyard Summer," his original composition, an easy upbeat melody with nuanced harmonies and intricate rhythm. Nothing tentative. One track dissolves to the next in a manner that gives the CD the feel of being a single fabric sewn by a familiar hand.
Rather than introspection, Mr. Alaimo, whose father was a performance guitarist, seems to rely on his honed instinct and well-practiced improvisation to make the sound his own. The formally trained pianist studied composition, arranging, and education at Berklee College of Music and the Boston Conservatory of Music. He has performed with notable musicians around the country, worked as producer, composer, and arranger at Boston-based World Star Productions, and moved to Los Angeles to continue his musical career. During the 80s and 90s, he was regularly featured at the popular 1369 Jazz Club in Cambridge.
The Alaimos, John and his wife, Holly, an arts advocate and former owner of Dragonfly Gallery, are well known among Islanders. The Boston-born and raised couple (who didn't meet and marry until both were in California) have been married 38 years. Mr. Alaimo's musical tribute to his wife, "You Taught My Heart to Sing," was released in 2003 by Dragonfly Productions.