Review by Brad Walseth
Guitarist Tony Do Rosario's sophomore release, New Beginnings comes to us courtesy Nick Eipers' Chicago Sessions label, and it is a solid effort featuring some fine tunes performed by a tight ensemble made up of Do Rosario, acoustic bassist Nathan Kawaller, drummer Greg Wyser-Pratte and saxophonist Geof Bradfield, appropriately dubbed the New Chicago Jazz Quartet. Whereas, Tony's rollicking first release (The Welcoming see our review here) unleashed the ghosts of Grant Green and Bobby Hutcherson, the Jersey-born guitarist now residing in Chicago has taken important steps to create an original voice of his own on this album.
The title track opens things moodily with Wyser-Pratte and the up-and-coming young Kwaller simmering underneath as Bradfield and Do Rosario play tastefully modulated solos. "On This Day" follows and is one of the most engaging compositions on the session. Do Rosario takes a thoughtful approach to his solo, as does the well-regarded and as of late, ubiquitous Bradfield. The interplay throughout the recording between the two, with support from their rhythm section is perhaps the highlight of the recording. And Wyser-Pratte shows his stuff with some excellent and energetic work on the outro. Meanwhile, the lovely "First Hint of Autumn" slows things down with Do Rosario providing the framework on acoustic guitar. Wyser-Pratte's delicate brushwork here is noteworthy while Bradfield builds ladders of sound rising above.
"April 27th" (Do Rosario's birthday) moves the sound back into the mid-tempo, relaxed and almost genteel sound that predominates the record. Wyser-Pratte's activity on the drum kit hints at some kinetic energy anxious to break out, while Bradfield and Do Rosario provide first-rate solos. The remainder of the album continues in a similarly comfortable vein, (the swinging "Now" recalls Tony's earlier work and is a highlight) with some nice and interesting changes, memorable melodies ("K") and great solos ("1227302") in a mature and subtle mode. This is an engaging effort and one that bodes well as a new beginning for this talented guitarist and his New Chicago Jazz Quartet.