Music : Sounds of "A Beautiful Friendship"
The Donald Kahn standard, "A Beautiful Friendship," is the title track on this CD by Island musicians, pianist John Alaimo and bassist Michael Tinus, just released by Dragonfly Productions. The two musicians have been riffing on jazz classics around the Island for many years. This is Mr. Alaimo's seventh album, his third including Mr. Tinus. Perhaps this delightful acoustic instrumental CD is a testament to their friendship. Even if that were not the case, it is certainly inspired by their obvious love for what they do together: make music. It is "easy-listening music" in the best sense.
To listen to a track from for "A Beautiful Friendship"
Mr. Alaimo has performed professionally since his early teens, and after studying at Boston University, Berklee College of Music, and the Boston Conservatory of Music, he worked as a composer, arranger, and teacher in Los Angeles before returning to Boston and eventually setting up shop on the Island.
His fingers seem to dance lightly across the keyboard on what is essentially an improvised tribute to the American songbook of jazz. A smile infuses the string of notes that float from his keys.
Mr. Tinus' bass anchors a pleasurable bass through-line reinforcing the visceral thrill of making good music. Mr. Tinus, who teaches guitar and directs the Martha's Vineyard Regional High School jazz band, concert band, and orchestra, has performed on the Island and worked in the Vineyard school system for over 17 years.
The new album is a collection of 13 stellar American standards such as "I Was Doing Alright" by the Gershwins, "Emily" and "Moon River" by Johnny Mercer, "Jitterbug Waltz" by Fats Waller, "Alfi" by Burt Bacharach, and Cole Porter's "Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye," among others.
This reviewer knew he was in good territory after the first couple of bars of the first cut, "I Was Doing Alright." Mr. Alaimo's almost-staccato approach makes it hard not to break out with a grin, and Mr. Tinus' walking bass wakes up the laziest of feet.
They keep the tempo up through the next several tunes, especially a song which pretty well describes the entire album "Nice 'n' Easy," made popular by Frank Sinatra.