|Recorded live in 2005 at Western Kentucky University, a duo performance by two gifted multi-instrumentalists who perform classics from the American songbook. Communicating in an easy-going musical manner, Dr. John Cipolla and Doc Livingston smoothly stroll down a pathway lined with gold, performing classic tunes, such as Body and Soul, On a Clear Day, Lady Be Good and Ain't Misbehavin. With material like this, you really can do no wrong, if you have the right groove. In the hands of these artists, whose spirit and soul for the music rings true, it seems that each and every song is a tribute to those who came before them.
John Cipolla plays clarinet throughout this recording, a seasoned musician with plenty of on-the-ground experience, performing regularly in New York as a member of the Radio City Music Hall Orchestra, the Broadway band of Cats as well as numerous sessions and club dates with a varied group of artists. Holding a doctorate in music from University of North Carolina, Greensboro, he is presently an Assistant Professor of Music (clarinet and saxophone) at Western Kentucky University.
David Doc Livingston is a noted composer, his works have been performed by the Ohio State Symphonic Band, the Ohio All-State Band and the Detroit and Oklahoma City Symphonies. Dr. Livingston made two overseas tours with Billy Vaughn's Hollywood Orchestra and has performed with some of the greatest jazz artists, including Louis Armstrong and Dave Brubeck. In 1997, Dr. Livingston, along with Rosemary Clooney, received the Governor's Award for the Arts in Instrumental Music.
The Ellington and Mills classic, It Dont Mean A Thing (If It Aint Got That Swing) swings with passion thanks to Doc Livingstons brilliant piano playing. Dr. Cipolla takes the lead and flows through the tune with some excellent, clean, clear and crisp blowing. Blackstick, an obscure composition by the great Sidney Bechet, is performed in a manner that would probably have pleased the master. Playing at times in a register similar to that of a soprano saxophone, Dr. Cipolla lays down some great lines that certainly pay tribute to Mr. Bechet.
The recording is well done with good sound and captures the spirit of motivated musical masters performing for an attentive and appreciative audience. There are many highlight moments from an excellent piano solo by Doc Livingston, On a Clear Day to a couple of clarinet duets on Lady Be Good and the title track Aint Misbehavin. All in all, a pleasant and easy-listening recording of some of the best in American classics.
report by Paul J. Youngman KJA Jazz Advocate December 2006