Funky Jazz from Sax man Dan Moretti
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Boney James may bag more glory and headlines, but Dan Moretti -- whose lack of name recognition is certainly not the fault of his solid indie releases throughout the 90s -- is nearly as effective in combining irresistible tenor and soprano hooks with seductive funk grooves. He seems to enjoy switching off from track to track between uptempo jams like "Cynthia" (where his aggressive tenor takes hold) and soft-hearted statements like "When Is It Real," where his soprano melody floats gracefully above the intertwining harmonies of Vinny Valentino's subtle acoustic guitar and Bill Cunliffe's lush piano touch. Cunliffe is an attractive presence here, contributing three of the best tunes and placing his solos in just the right spots, much as he did with the early-'90s band Porcupine. On "Cynthia," he adds his cheer above the bluesy synth vamps of Greg Wardson. For the most part, Moretti plays his melodies straightforwardly, without many tangents, but his switch from tenor to soprano right in the middle of the bouncy title cut is a brilliant idea; he takes the opportunity to play off the main melody and go wild with a honking improvisation over the increasingly explosive bass and drum interaction between Michael Farquharson and Vinny Pagano. Moretti also makes playful bedfellows of his flute and tenor on the choruses of "Los Gatos Hills," letting his Latin flavored flute whimsy carry the verses. While it may not make good marketing sense to encourage more of a mix of instruments, artistically Moretti makes one of his most unique statements on the flute.