Dave Zinno Unisphere, Fetish Review
By Sylvannia Garutch
Dave Zinno is a jazz bassist and faculty member at the University of Rhode Island and Brown University. After his studies at Berklee College of Music and the University of Rhode Island, he moved to Seattle, Washington, where he worked with Grammy-winning vocalist Dianne Schuur for one year. Zinno has performed with Jimmy Cobb, Junior Cook, Jimmy Heath, John Hicks, John Medeski, Larry Willis, Julian Priester, Hadley Caliman, Frank Clayton and studied for a short time with Gary Peacock during his time on the West Coast. Zinno plays in trios behind singer/entertainers Ann Hampton Calloway and Ben Vereen and recently played on a daytime Emmy nominated soundtrack. Zinno is now releasing Fetish via Whaling City Sound. Joining Zinno is his Unisphere bandmates—Mike Tucker on tenor sax, Eric Benny Bloom on trumpet and flugelhorn, Leo Genovese on keyboards, Tim Ray on piano, Rafael Barata, drums and percussion, and special guest Rafael Rocha on trombone. The ensemble have been writing and practicing, biding their time until the jazz scene reopens. “This project is the culmination of a year without live music,” says Zinno. “Every ounce of energy and ambition, in reserve from not expending it for so long, is on this record. I hope people feel what we felt while creating it.”
The title track, “Fetish,” opens the album with a high energy composition beginning with Zinno’s bass paving the way. The horns are well-orchestrated, and the melody has various shapes and activities as it passes through the song form. Each soloist is engaging and develops themes in their improvisations that one can trace to the roots of post-bop and bop. As an ensemble, the line-up complements the style and gives a performance that is strong and resourceful. The music has an energy that everyone is having an unadulterated blast.
Each band member contributed compositions or arrangements to the project, creating diversity and a sound of aural energy. “The Golden Age” is characteristic of that energy. With an intricate melody over a steady rhythmic figure, the tune references the hard-bop era. The solos and rhythm section’s performances are exemplary. Each soloist brings a dynamic twist to the well-grooved solo section. As a result, the ensemble has entered a high rating on the gauged energy barometer.
Fetish will be played more often than many of its contemporary albums as it is that good. And so, it goes without saying that Zinno has assembled a fine ensemble to give these twelve tracks life. This is a musical remedy for generic jazz from end to end and will continue to shape Zinno’s impressive career.