Hiding in Plain Sight / Dino Govoni
Listening to the opening bars of “Stories Passed,” the kick-off track on Dino Govoni’s new recording, "Hiding in Plain Sight," is like rolling the window down on a long empty stretch of highway, with nothing but a cool breeze in your face and open road ahead. Govoni’s first few clear, clarion notes, in that typically bold Govoni style, feels like what freedom might sound like. As the notes wash over you, you can sense the tension melting away as the joy of bebop takes the spotlight. And that’s just the first few notes. There’s more where that came from, much more.
Govoni’s new recording, his third for Whaling City Sound and his first in nearly a decade, reflects a broad and beautiful understanding of jazz expression. The recordings here are immensely satisfying, hefty, hearty compositions that run long, and give his listeners a chance to sink into them, and his band members a chance to lean into them. They are comfortable in straight-up tradition, but zesty and endlessly interesting as well, with great accompanying performances. His band—including Henry Hey (piano), Mike Pope (bass), Jeff “Tain" Watts (drums), and Alex Sipiagin (trumpet)—clearly appreciate the chance to explore and enhance the arrangements. Listeners will not be surprised that Govoni, a long-time faculty member at Berklee College of Music, is a highly prized session man, a first call guy that people know will bring tone, versatility, and creativity to everything he touches. If you’re new to Govoni’s sax gifts, "Hiding in Plain Sight" is all you need for proof.
Tenor saxophonist Dino Govoni acquits himself well on his third album for Whaling City Sound, as do his colleagues on this basically bop-leaning, mainly quintet studio date. Trumpeter Alex Sipiagin performs on five of the album's nine tracks. On the others, Govoni is cradled by his capable rhythm section, pianist Henry Hey, bassist Michael Pope and drummer Jeff "Tain" Watts.
Govoni solos well, sounding much like a number of his contemporaries, with artists like Lew Tabackin, Jerry Bergonzi, Joe Lovano, and Don Braden springing to mind. Pope solos on electric bass on Nagel's ballad "Falling Ahead," acoustic on his own "Appels to Apples," lending no cause for complaint in either instance.
The quintet arguably shines brightest on Crook's Latin swinger, "Thinkers Anonymous," with sharp solos all around and energetic timekeeping by Watts. The closer, Govoni's "Edge Walker," is another highlight, with a charming melody that morphs into a fast-paced flag-waver. Govoni is splendid here, as are Hey, Sipiagin and Watts.
-- All About Jazz (Jack Bowers)
Release Date: October 15, 2021
Catalog Number: WCS133
Label: Whaling City Sound
Number of Discs: 1