There is always so much more to music than meets the eye. Jerry Donato’s new release It’s A Cool Heat is a labor of love and respect for his past. Donato is a multi-talented jazz man, playing the soprano, alto, tenor, and baritone sax with equivalent skill. In addition to covering all the bases with the sax, he plays the flute, alto flute and bass clarinet. He is a very talented man indeed and the cast he brings along for the show are a triangle that makes up all the sum of the parts - friends, peers, and equals.
This album is not all about Jerry Donato even though it is his solo album. This is Donato’s own personal tribute to Cool Jazz and the West Coast sound, which became his friend early on in his development as a musician. The other significant aspects of this album are the people that helped make it happen. Pete "In The Pocket" Jolly recorded his last performance during these sessions before he passed away. In the short time that Jerry knew him, he became very close to the legendary ivory tickler. Jolly earned his nickname for walking in the studio, sitting down at the piano, playing his part in one take, and walking out. Jolly was also a critical component to creating the West Coast sound that Donato covets. To say he accomplishes a multitude of things in one session would be an understatement. This was a spiritual experience for all involved - I have no question. You can tell by the determined and inspired playing throughout that this music is close to the heart of the individuals that perform it.
The one aspect of jazz that seems to transcend all the other genres is its ability to rearrange the same song repeatedly for decades and make it sound new and fresh. Donato and his band do just that on this album with grace, diligence and consistency. Classic compositions like "Gone With The Wind," "Broadway," "Deep Purple" and "The Lady Is A Tramp," get a new lease on life thanks to the steadfast leadership of Donato and ultimately, all the individual parts that make this vast musical puzzle come together.
If you appreciate saxophone as the lead instrument this is an album you will love. Jerry Donato is smooth and fluent with the sax and he does the classic tunes justice. Check out the cover, that is real block of ice. If you go to his website, you will see another shot similar to it, except that it is in the meltdown stage. So, from artwork to music and the stories that propel the artists to make each song their own, It’s A Cool Heat will find common rotation in your stereo system. Jazz with cool heat - how can you resist checking it out for yourself?