By Danny R. Johnson – Jazz and Pop Music Critic
SAN DIEGO–Few musicians have expressed more incredible determination to elude expectations while pursuing discrete interests than composer and trumpeter Tony Glausi.
His fifth album, “When It All Comes Crashing Down” on the Outside In Music label to be released on January 8, 2021, will have listeners coming away impressed by his elegant reserve in composing delicate original compositions (except for Once Upon A Dream and Stardust) which spotlights the persistence of this dexterous composer, organizer, bandleader, untempted by compromise yet readily willing to please, abided as a tonic and perhaps a caveat.
The 26-year prodigy of a musical family that spans three generations has crafted “When It All Comes Crashing Down” to strike a perfect balance between composer and improvisers. The thorough grounding of each of the ten selections on the album encourages the soloists to spin verse and telling variations though tending to the written music’s rigors.
The album’s selections are played by duet, trio, and quartet, and each combination gives the impression of a polished band. Glausi delivers rhythmically ridiculous lines in his keyboard, trumpet, and vocals performances. Drummer Bryan Carter and tenor sax man Lucan Pino gets exemplary showcase, violinist Tina Glausi, and the ever-dependable Emmet Cohen on piano, Dan Chmielinski on bass, and Ian Wurfl and Peter Manheim on percussion are up to their usual high standards. The accent is on a subtle swing undercurrent rhythm and the structures are fit and trim for all the variety.
One of Glausi’s most effective gambits is one of the simplest: mesmerizing shadowing trumpet, building to great magnetic blasts on “Once Upon A Dream,” which offers some of the old “new music” bravura in a whimsical vein, falling between “When It All Comes Crashing Down” and “Alone In The Rain.” By contrast, “Finding My Way Out of the Maze” and “To Pray,” while referencing the whimsy, employs swinging jazz rhythms improvising heating up between Cohen, Carter, Glausi on trumpet, and bassist Chmielinski.
Glausi’s “When It All Comes Crashing Down” and his subsequent albums over the years have sustained his high standards as well as the unpredictability that makes the albums such varied cherished entertainment.