'Red Pajamas' is the splendid second CD of trombonist and composer Jay Vonada, a welcome follow-up to his 2008 debut, 'Jammin'. Red Pajamas features Vonada a well-respected, busy Central Pennsylvania musician with two favorite colleagues: organist Alex Sell and drummer Kevin Lowe. They form a spirited, percolating trio, delving here into an array of natty originals with zest and invention.
The 9-song program kicks off with Blue Mood, a Vonada blues (he wrote all the songs save two) with a tidy line and unhurried gait. Here, as throughout, the musicians play with an alluring musicality: the leader boasts a glowing-to-raspy tone and a wealth of improvisational swagger; Sell creates engaging sonic shades from the keyboard; and ardent timekeeper Lowe offers deft percussive sounds. November Day is a peppy waltz that opens with a crackling Lowe solo. Jays subsequent outing reveals his gleaming sound and powerhouse technique. The Latin-bent Fresh Start is so well-crafted it sounds like a standard. Jays lines pack punch, and Alex scores with soft, light-filled organ sounds.
Lowes Not A Thing has an invigorating, make-you-dance New Orleans street-beat, second line feel thats great to play on, says Jay. Sells Jeanie B. is a medium-slow groover headlined by a singable theme. The bands finger-popping efforts enhance its charm. Jays Sea Jam has a funky rhythmic undercurrent he calls a New Jack Swing kind of feel. Crowds enjoy it. A shout chorus adds zip. Merino, with Jay employing the cup mute for a nice color change, leads to the title track, a dandy bossa. The waltz blues, E in 3, brings this ace affair to a vibrant close.
This is hip, refreshing music, worthy of repeated visits. - Zan Stewart
01. Blue Mood 6:58
02. November Day 7:18
03. Fresh Star t6:09
04. Not a Thing 5:26
05. Jeanie B. 7:28
06. Sea Jam 4:49
07. Merino 7:04
08. Red Pajamas 7:00
09. E in 3 4:48
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