Peppe Merolla | Stick With Me

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Stick With Me

by Peppe Merolla

Highly acclaimed drummer Peppe Merolla's second CD with his sextet!!
Genre: Jazz: Hard Bop
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Naples
7:38 $0.99
2. Ferris Wheel
8:28 $0.99
3. Junior
7:27 $0.99
4. Marbella
5:50 $0.99
5. A Cry For Understanding
6:03 $0.99
6. Crazy
7:16 $0.99
7. Mozzin'
9:37 $0.99
8. Princess of the Mountain
5:52 $0.99
9. One For Bud
5:12 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Peppe Merolla is a wonderful and very exciting drummer. If you see him, you'll want to see him again and if you hear him, you'll want to hear him again! (Mickey Roker)

You will love "Stick With Me" if you are a true jazz lover!



to write a review

Edward Blanco

All about Jazz Magazine Great CD REVIEW
Stick with Me, his stellar debut as a leader, may well serve to change that fact. Born in Italy and hailing from an artistic family of actors and singers, Giuseppe "Peppe" Merolla followed in the family tradition doing a little acting and singing before pursuing his love for the drums and jazz. On this striking first outing, Merolla offers a decidedly hard bop-styled jazz set, approaching the music in an assertive manner evidenced by strong stick and rim shots and crowned by crisp cymbal work throughout the nine-piece repertoire of primarily original material.

Merolla moved to the U.S. because he wanted to live where jazz was born. Now residing in the New York area, the drummer—who states "I want to play this music with the best players in the world"—makes good on this goal by surrounding himself with some of the Big Apple's finest musicians.

The program begins with the drummer's tribute to his native "Naples," a dicey percussive Afro-Cuban number that ends up in straight jazz territory. Tenor saxophonist John Farnsworth tees off on the following "Ferris Wheel," peppered with voices from the other horns—trombonist extraordinaire Steve Turré and trumpeter Jim Rotondi—along with assertive bass lines and Merolla's rumbling climax. The bop sounds soften up a bit on the gentle "Junior," as Turré starts off the solos, followed by another Farnsworth mix, Mike LeDonne on electric piano and bassist Lee Smith's graceful bow. The other mellow number here is the Rotondi-arranged Willie Nelson ballad, "Crazy," led by warm tenor phrasings, Rotondi's muted horn work and sensitive play from the rest of the band.

The bop-ish original "A Cry For Understanding" is the album's centerpiece—featuring brisk work from the horns, while Merolla punctuates the number with his powerful stick work and crashing cymbals. But the highlight of this hard-bop set is the sizzling "Mozzin,'" on fire from the introduction, and smoking all the way through to the end, capturing several of Merolla's muscular solos.

Clearly an album of exceptional quality and an impressive debut,Stick with Me showcases a powerful performance from Merolla and marks an unforgettable entrance into the world of recorded music sure to stick with those that appreciate the perky nature of hard-bop jazz.

Track listing: Naples; Ferris Wheel; Junior; Marbella; A Cry For Understanding; Crazy; Mozzin'; Princess of the Mountain; One For Bud.

Personnel: Peppe Merolla: drums; Steve Turré: trombone, shells; Jim Rotondi; John Farnsworth: tenor saxophone; Mike LeDonne: piano; Lee Smith: bass.

Style: Straightahead/Mainstream

Edward Blanco

Tonight cd review
CD review: Stick With Me
March 31, 2010

By Brian Hough

Peppe Merolla

Stick With Me

There has been a dearth of new jazz releases from local distributors so far this year.

However, the absence of albums from local companies has given me the opportunity to review some releases from independent producers in the US.

Remember, these CDs are not available locally but are easily purchased from the internet addresses below.

Peppe Merolla was unknown to me before the arrival of his CD.

The blurb accompanying the album, Stick With Me, could be dismissed as pure hyperbole ("Drummer Peppe Merolla fronts an All-Star hard bop sextet on his debut as a leader") until you listen to the CD.

Merolla has some powerful friends bopping with him: John Farnsworth (tenor sax), Steve Turre (trombone), Jim Rotondi (trumpet), Mike LeDonne (piano) and Lee Smith (bass).

The nine tracks are Merolla's own compositions and they allow him to display his remarkable drumming talent.

But, the album is not just a drumming showcase as his highly-talented musos pack some powerful bop into a swinging album.

It is highly recommended!

For more information and ordering details go to www.peppemerolla.

Edward Blanco

All About Jazz CD Review
Stick With Me is percussionist Peppe Merolla's first album as leader with this sextet of excellent New York-based musicians, and his involving and imaginative playing takes them through a set of tunes with a distinct hard bop flavor. Merolla's musical history includes a recording career in his native Italy as teenage singing sensation "Little Joe" but here he focuses on drums and percussion with a consistently swinging and inventive style, providing a powerful yet sensitive foundation for his fellow musicians.
The introduction to "Naples"—Merolla's sole composition in this collection and the album's opening track—features some free-form percussion over which trombonist and seashellist Steve Turré plays a conch shell. The sound is unlike anything else on the album—although reminiscent of trumpeter Byron Wallen's Meeting Ground (Twilight Jaguar, 2007)—but soon Merolla kicks in the beat and the tune continues in a Cuban-influenced bop style.

Tenor saxophonist John Farnsworth contributes most of the original tunes on the album, with five to his credit. The tunes are characterized by some excellent ensemble playing from the three horns of Farnsworth, Turre, and trumpeter Jim Rotondi. They also include some effective soloing—Turré's solo on "Ferris Wheel" is especially noteworthy.

A cover of Willie Nelson's "Crazy" is not an obvious choice for a hard bop band—in fact it's the least successful tune on the album. Both Merolla and pianist Mike LeDonne sound lackluster and the horns, with the exception of Farnsworth's tenor, are gimmicky rather than emotive. However, the album's drive soon returns with Farnsworth's "Mozzin'"—which features a fine solo from LeDonne—and "Princess of the Mountain." The album's standout tune, Charles Greenlee's "Marbella," has a looser feel than the rest of the album. Merolla's drumming is more relaxed and the horn section has a gentler and more laid back sound than usual. Turré's trombone is beautifully warm and rich.

On the evidence of Stick With Me Merolla can add a talent as bandleader to his undoubted percussion skills. This enjoyable album combines high-quality playing, some inventive percussion, irresistible grooves and a good deal of swing—contemporary hard bop at its finest.

Track listing: Naples; Ferris Wheel; Junior; Marbella; A Cry for Understanding; Crazy; Mozzin'; Princess of the Mountain; One for Bud.

Personnel: Peppe Merolla: drums, percussion; Steve Turré: trombone, shells; Jim Rotondi: trumpet, flugelhorn; John Farnsworth: tenor saxophone; Mike LeDonne: piano; Lee Smith: bass.

Edward Blanco

Something Else CD Review
Peppe Merolla Stick With Me

In the past, we've saluted Italian trumpet players, saxophonists and pianists here, but the land of Michelangelo and Loren has also produced some mighty fine drummers. At least there's one such drummer that I know of, and his name is Peppe Merolla.

Merolla comes from a musical family, and he's learned to sing, act and holds a masters degree in classical trumpet. But drumming is his main gig, and he persues it with a passion on Stick With Me. This isn't the kind of record where the drummer is soloing all over the place, Merolla takes on the Art Blakey role of bandleader and keep of the groove. And the music contained within is the down the line hard bop pioneered by Blakey and practiced so well by contemporary outfits like Derrick Gardners' Jazz Prophets. For this first record of his, Peppe assembles a murderer's row of talent: Steve Turre (trombone & shells), Jim Rotundi (trumpet), John Farnsworth (tenor sax, co-producer with Merolla), Mike LeDonne (piano) and Lee Smith (bass), with most of the compositions contributed by Farnsworth. Merolla's lone composition "Naples" is a pleasing blend of Afro-Cuban rhythms and resolute 4/4 walk. Turre, one of the world's most in-demand trombone players, burns on numbers lie "Ferris Wheel" and the relaxed Latin "Marbella." Farnsworth not only provides some memorable melodies, such as the waltzing "Princess Of The Mountain," but brings his confidently swinging style to the table, too. The rest of their players aren't so shabby, either; LeDonne sizzles on "Mozzin'" and Rotondi puts forth a nicely lyrical and whimsical solo on "Junior."

On the first time out, Peppe Merolla understands his role if to make everyone in front of him better. In doing that so superbly on Stick With Me, Morella ends up being the most outstanding player of the group.

Edward Blanco

Step Tempest CD Review stick with me 2010
Stick With Me - Peppe Merolla (PJ Productions) - The spirit of hard-bop permeates this CD, the second by drummer/vocalist Merolla (he does not sing on this program.) Utilizing the talents of Steve Turre (trombone, shells), Jim Rotondi (trumpet, flugelhorn), John Farnsworth (tenor sax), Mike LeDonne (piano) and Lee Smith (bass), Merolla romps, stomps, pounds, splashes, thumps, swings and dances through this music. 5 of the 9 tracks are from Farnsworth's pen and they allow the musicians to stretch out. Yet, what's best about the disk is that there are very solid melodies on most tracks, not just riffs for all to blow through and over. Turre's mystical shells opens "Naples", the first track on the CD and the only composition contributed by the leader. There's great propulsion in the rhythm section. Highlights include "A Cry for Understanding", a Farnsworth piece that combines the influences of John Coltrane with Art Blakey. Rotondi brings his sweet arrangement of Willie Nelson's "Crazy" to the session - it features bluesy solos from the saxophonist, Turre and LeDonne. "Ferris Wheel" is a real burner, the solos riding atop Merolla's driving percussion.
If you dig "hard bop", you'll certainly enjoy "Stick With Me." For more information, go to