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Live in Italy

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Album Review

This album might well be subtitled "Las Vegas Visits Italy" as singer/sax player Ray Gelato brings his Giants (a septet) to the land of warm sun and good wine. His show is the kind of entertainment expected in Las Vegas, the land of slots and sand. Gelato has been around for a while, beginning in 1980 with rock & roll, moving ahead to jumping jive, then a duo with a French guitar player before settling into this configuration. On this album, Gelato and his group race (literally) through a playlist of ten tunes, mostly using the mannerisms that made Louis Prima. These include the back and forth between English and Italian on the lyrics and the vocal call and response between Gelato and the band members on such tunes as "I Ain't Got Nobody" and "Oh Marie." The performance runs the gamut from novelty tunes such as "Josephine, Please No Lean on the Bell" to straight jazz, including an eight-minute visit with the Woody Herman favorite "Apple Honey." This cut features the swinging piano of Richard Busiakiewiez and the honking tenor of Gelato. The Giants play fast and furious throughout the live session, which the audience loved judging from their enthusiastic response. Even though the hyped-up version of "Solitude" might raise eyebrows of Duke Ellington purists, it certainly generates a lot of motion mostly due to the high note trumpet of Enrico Tomasso and the tongue in cheek vocalizing of Gelato. Gelato and his crew are out to give the audience a flaming good time and that they do without pretension or apology. This album will leave most smiling and feeling good.

Live in Italy, The Ray Gelato Giants
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