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A Fine Line | Conversations, Vol. 1

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Bill Evans Trio Keith Jarrett Trio Ray Brown and Paul Motian

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CD Review in Fourth Coast Entertainment

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United States - New York

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Jazz: Traditional Jazz Combo Jazz: Contemporary Jazz Moods: Type: Improvisational
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Conversations, Vol. 1

by A Fine Line

Jazz Standards in the tradition of the Bill Evans and Keith Jarrett trios.
Genre: Jazz: Traditional Jazz Combo
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. You Are Too Beautiful
6:10 $0.99
2. Just in Time
4:30 $0.99
3. You Don't Know What Love Is
6:53 $0.99
4. This Can't Be Love
4:27 $0.99
5. How Insensitive
5:41 $0.99
6. All of You
4:45 $0.99
7. It Could Happen to You
5:10 $0.99
8. The Days of Wine and Roses
5:20 $0.99
9. Almost Like Being in Love
5:12 $0.99
10. Night and Day
7:10 $0.99
11. I Fall in Love Too Easily
6:22 $0.99
12. Blue Bossa
6:48 $0.99
13. All of You (Alternate Take)
4:45 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
I. The Project
A Fine Line is the jazz duo of Bill Vitek and Dan Gagliardi. From the Thousand Islands to the Adirondack Park, and lots of small towns in between, they’ve been playing music together for a decade in New York’s “North Country.” They released their first CD, “A Fine Line” in 2005. While continuing to work as a duo, Dan and Bill have played with many fine musicians along the way, most recently with drummer Mike Magilligan, a newcomer to the North Country. Mike’s musical approach and inventive rhythms are a perfect complement to the duo’s style of intermixing ensemble playing and solos, with lots of open space. When the topic of the next CD came up, it was clear that Mike would be part of it, and we could call it “Conversations,” the first, they hope, of many Fine Line conversations with musicians who share their respect for, and approach to, the music.

II. The Recording
When the time came to begin recording a new CD, the band decided it wanted to re-create its monthly gig at the Parkview Café in Canton, New York. A live audience, after all, is part of the musical conversation. But Bill wanted to record the session on his newly acquired—and in vintage condition—1946 Steinway Model S grand piano, a gift from his mom, aunt, and two childhood friends. In the tradition of Rudy Van Gelder—the famous jazz recording engineer who got his start in his parent’s Hackensack, New Jersey home—the band persuaded friend Allan Cox to record the sessions in Bill’s (small) living room. Live recording sessions on two different days in April and June of 2014, with no isolation, with street noise, and afternoon sessions without an audience, and evening sessions with an audience. (You’ll hear clapping on some tunes, but not on others.) And just to add to the challenge, Dan had to switch instruments on the second recording session. What the recording lacks in professional sound studio technology is made up, we believe, by the good energy in the room on those days.

III. The Music
Like A Fine Line’s first CD, the music for “Conversations” is drawn exclusively from the Great American Songbook. These timeless melodies and inventive harmonies provide musicians and listeners alike with just the right mix of familiarity and improvisational surprise. The trio chose songs they have played together often. The arrangements that made it to the CD developed during the recording sessions, and in some cases were played that way for the very first time. The two versions of Cole Porter’s “All of You,” for example, reflect the trio’s willingness to experiment with a tune while trying to remain true to the form.

IV. Musicians with Day Jobs
All three musicians on this recording have careers that keep them busy during the day. Mike is a librarian at the Canton campus of the State University of New York (SUNY). Dan is a mathematics professor, also at SUNY Canton. Bill is a philosophy professor at Clarkson University in Potsdam, New York. But each has had a professional musical life.

Dan studied classical and jazz bass at Manhattan School of Music’s Preparatory Division ,and at the Eastman School of Music with James B. Vandermark. After Eastman, he studied with classical bassist Homer Mensch and jazz with Mike Richmond. He has played with Tom Harrell, Bruce Barth, and Steve Hobbs, to name a few.

Bill studied piano with Ray Bozenski and Frank Stagnitta. In the 80’s he worked with a number of jazz groups in New York’s Capital District region, and arranged and produced three award-winning jazz nursery rhyme recordings with Josh Greenberg: Rhythm and Rhyme, Go With the Flow and See How They Run.

Mike is originally from Long Island. He spent many years cutting his teeth in the NYC jazz scene. His melodic and rhythmic approach to music has been greatly influenced by Pandit Samir Chatterjee, with whom he has been studying tabla in the traditional Hindustani musical tradition for the last fifteen years. His playing with A Fine Line represents an improvised approach to listening and reacting that encapsulates his creative attitude towards music and life.



to write a review

Peter Freitag

A Tour de Force
This album is fantastic—a joy from beginning to end! When, in 1999, Keith Jarrett released his solo album, The Melody at Night, With You, I fell in love with it immediately, listening over and over again. The same has been true of A Fine Line’s Conversations, Vol. 1. Who would have thought that the small towns of Northern New York could produce such a remarkable trio of performers?
This collection of compositions from the Great American Songbook offers new and brilliant interpretations of standards by Irving Berlin, Lerner and Lowe, Cole Porter, Styne and Cahn, and others with a nod to the Bossa Nova Jazz of Antonio Carlos Jobim and Kenny Dorham. I was hooked after the first measures of “You Are Too Beautiful” and things kept getting better and better. I’ve replayed “Almost Like Being in Love” several times; there are subtleties to this version I haven’t heard in other jazz recordings. The classic, “Night and Day” is interpreted differently and wonderfully. And, the trio’s interplay on “How Insensitive” is remarkably fresh and clean.
Like Jarrett’s album, A Fine Line’s was recorded at a home studio. There is an intimacy to the group’s playing that made me feel as if I was in the room with them. The pianist, Vitek, makes the most of the vintage Steinway on which he is playing and the bassist and drummer, Gagliardi and Magilligan, are very much in sync with him. I can only hope that Conversations, Vol. 2 will follow quickly.

John N. Serio

Inspired Album
This is an inspired album. Bill Vitek's trio has brought these standard jazz tunes to life with unusual freshness. The nuances in dynamics, tempo, and especially improvisation make for a truly pleasurable listening experience . Thee's not a bad cut on the album. If you like "cool jazz," this is it. Highly recommended.