At first glance, trumpeter Dominick Farinacci seems to have sprung fully formed onto the jazz scene, but that's only if you don't live in Japan. His U.S. debut, Lovers, Tales & Dances, is actually his seventh disc overall, with six acclaimed titles overseas as a leader.
This 25-year-old Cleveland native and Julliard graduate's resume includes work with Joe Lovano, Wynton Marsalis, Mulgrew Miller and more. As the title implies, Farinacci's newest release tends toward the romantic. Only one track rises above mid-tempo, and four glide along on silky strings and horns.
Farinacci prefers the lyrical side of his horns, with a light, crisp tone, putting him squarely in the lineage of Chet Baker right up to Chris Botti. Other Botti comparisons are hard to miss: the emphasis on standards (he only penned two songs on this set), the sprinkling of world and classical music (works by Piazzola, Jacques Brel and Puccini) and even a guest vocalist. Still, Farinacci displays some serious chops here and ideas that Botti would never approach is his role as trumpet star du jour. He coaxes out the lyrical side of Lovano on "Don't Explain" and mixes things up with the saxophonist on Ornette Coleman's "Lonely Woman." It's this track especially that shows Farinacci can do more than just ballads, and makes one wonder what those other half-dozen albums sound like.
Lovers, Tales & Dances had the potential to appeal to a broader jazz audience, with enough interesting twists to give the serious jazzer something to sink their teeth into.