by Ron Netsky
Source:Rochester City News
Most saxophonists these days are so cerebral they have all but forgotten the fun, honking side of the instrument. Young Chicago sax man Frank Catalano plays with the best of the serious jazz masters, but he has also absorbed healthy doses of King Curtis and Maceo Parker. On The Mighty Burner, he comes out of the gate racing through the title tune, a tribute to organist Charles Earland. (Earland was just one of the greats this 27-year-old phenom toured with while still in his teens.)
Catalano never slows down to breathe, but he is by no means one-dimensional. In fact, when he really gets fired up on original compositions like “Love Bugaloo” and “ Tuna Town ,” Catalano can veer away from the muscular melodies right to the edge of dissonance. It’s a tour-de-force performance, effortlessly gliding through the instrument’s split personality to a perfect landing. His band-mates — Vijay Tellis-Nayak, piano; Matt Thompson, bass; Robert Gay, drums (and Greg Spero, keyboards and Shawn Sommer, bass on one track) — are more than up to the funky task. When the album’s over, expect to feel like you’ve run a glorious marathon.