Alone Together - Diane Monroe & Tony Miceli

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Alone Together - Diane Monroe & Tony Miceli

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Two of Philadelphia s most revered jazz artists unite for an intimate, exploratory duo session on Alone Together. Violinist Diane Monroe and vibraphonist Tony Miceli have been playing together since the mid-'80s, and the fruits of that three-decade relationship are evident throughout their debut collaboration. The album s thirteen tracks encompass the wide range of the pair s mutual interests, from jazz to classical, standards to spirituals, originals to classics, and even an unexpected TV theme song. Both Monroe and Miceli have long histories of forging rich collaborations in Philadelphia and beyond. Monroe has bridged the jazz and classical traditions for most of her career. She studied at Oberlin Conservatory, Philadelphia Musical Academy, Michigan State University, and the Curtis Institute of Music. She toured for more than a decade with the Max Roach Double Quartet and the Uptown String Quartet and performed extensively as a member of the String Trio of New York, all ensembles which fused classical virtuosity with jazz improvisation. Over the course of her career she s played with such renowned artists as Percy Heath, Steve Wilson, Dave Grusin, Joe Lovano, Reggie Workman, Wycliffe Gordon, and Uri Caine, and is currently a member of saxophonist composer Bobby Zankel s Warriors of the Wonderful Sound big band. Miceli has been a force on the Philly jazz scene since 1980 while touring the world and mentoring young players as an educator. In 1990 he co-founded the group Monkadelphia, dedicated to playing the music of Thelonious Monk. He is also a member of the PhilOrch Jazz Ensemble, a quartet featuring members of the Philadelphia Orchestra. He has worked with countless jazz luminaries as both a leader and a sideman, including David Liebman, Jimmy Bruno, Ken Peplowski, John Blake, John Swana, Joe Magnarelli, Steve Slagle, Larry McKenna, and many others. The diverse material the duo selected for Alone Together reflects the breadth of their experiences. We wanted to find interesting, different kinds of tunes that would cross over a little bit, explains Miceli. The album opens with guitarist Ralph Towner s classic Icarus, originally written for the Paul Winter Consort, which Monroe cites as a longtime favorite. The track exemplifies the beauty of the pair s collaboration, with Monroe wringing deeply-felt emotion from the melody over Miceli s rippling vibes.

REVIEW

Miceli's contribution to the repertoire, 'Vince Guaraldi,' pays tribute to the pianist and composer best known for his soundtracks to the classic 'Peanuts' TV specials, including 'A Charlie Brown Christmas' and 'It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.' Both Miceli and Monroe fondly recalled growing up on Guaraldi s indelible themes. 'For a lot of people my age, that might have been your first exposure to jazz,' Miceli says. 'He wrote beautiful melodies, and as my musical taste grew I began to realize more and more how heavy he was. Thinking of him was a great inspiration for me.' Monroe s original piece, 'Fleetin Blues,' revisits a composition she originally wrote while in residency at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania. The piece was inspired by a series of paintings illustrating legends from blues music by artist and Lafayette professor Curlee Holton that originally incorporated guitar, electronic loops, and a drum machine but here gets a much more organic treatment.' --Shaun Brady