Review by Brad Walseth
Among the very best jazz guitarists of the current generation who play in traditional style, be sure to add the name of Tony Do Rosario. This young man's background is impeccable and includes a stint playing in John Pisano's "Guitar Night" series in L.A. "The Welcoming" is a superb album with strong original compositions (and two covers) and exuberant playing by all the parties involved. These musicians include drummer Bob Shomo, organist Dan Kostelnik and vibist Behn Gillece, and the way they interact with and support their leader is exceptional. Meanwhile Do Rosario takes no prisoners with his melodic and energetic playing, which reminds the listener of Wes Montgomery and Grant Green.
I defy any jazz fan not to love this album. The band comes out smoking on the opener, "Childhood Memories, " virtually daring the listener not smile and tap their toes. "Another Time" is a quieter, Latin-tined tone with Do Rosario's guitar hints at a bit of Joe Pass or Jim Hall. Again, those who love their jazz straight ahead will love this. Kostelnik and Gillece trade off solos with Do Rosario, while, Shomo anchors it all with a strong pulse. A fiery version of Grant Green's "Jean De Fleur" is done exceptionally well and is a worthy complement to the original version that may remind modern listeners of what a great player the under-appreciated Green was. I'm sure Green would be smiling at Do Rosario's tough and soulful, yet sweet playing. And if the mark of a great player is how well he swings when comping, just listen to Do Rosario's work supporting his fellow players Gillece and Kosetlnik on their satisfying solos. Rhythm guitar work like this is a dying art.
The blusey "Easter Sunday" is a down home treat, while the title tune shows Do Rosario writing some delightful hard bop in an impressive track. Do Rosario's guitar bubbles over a driving Shomo and Kostelnik, before Gillece chimes in with sparkling mallet work on this highlight. "Waiting Alone's" quiet grittiness, drenched in B-3 tones, reminds me of Grant Green's work `with Jack McDuff, with the added treat of Gillece's haunting vibes and Do Rosario's twisting lines here are memorable. Finally, as if to complete a near perfect recording, a bouncy version of Frank Foster's "Simone," sends the listener off happy and content.
As a fan of traditional (yet original) jazz guitar I have had "The Welcoming" in my heavy playlist since I first heard it. Do Rosario's guitar playing is just what the doctor ordered for this never-ending winter, and the excellent contributions from his fellow musicians is an added bonus.