Thinking Big With A Small Band

Posted: May 03, 1991

Ed Palermo may be best known for the big bands he's put together over the last several years - primarily in the New York area. Recently, though, Palermo streamlined his thinking and trimmed the personnel from about 16 to six. Now he is making some of the hottest contemporary jazz around.

Palermo will be showcasing his band Monday night at the Aztec Club, which is attempting to offer jazz on a regular basis.

Palermo has always had a reputation for avoiding the traditional approach. His uniqueness derives from his skills as a composer and arranger.

Palermo has never been easy to pin down. Whenever it seemed his music was rolling along comfortably in a certain groove, you could usually count on it taking a sharp turn.

Gil Evans once said of Palermo, "He has the ability to keep that important balance between cohesiveness and unpredictability."

He has retained that balance in his newer music, while adding a fresh contemporary flair. Much of the sizzle is provided by Palermo's work on soprano and alto saxophones, but he also has surrounded himself with a solid delegation of players.

Through the years, Palermo's bands were known for their high quality of musicianship. Among those who performed with Palermo were Randy Brecker, David Sanborn, Danny Gottlieb and Lew Soloff.

Palermo also has paid strict attention to building a repertoire. He has written much of the material with his brother John, and there also are numbers by country music's k.d. lang and rock's Peter Gabriel.

Ed Palermo and his band at the Aztec Club, Delaware Avenue and Spring Garden Street, Monday at 8 p.m. Tickets are $4. Phone: 574-5730.

GOLIA AT THE BRIDE. One has to be impressed by the versatility of Vinny Golia, a musician who plays more than a dozen different woodwind instruments.

Golia, who will perform tomorrow night at the Painted Bride Art Center, has experimented extensively in the many approaches to jazz. And he has worked with ensembles of widely varying size and instrumentation.

His music can be soothing, energetic - even raucous.

Golia has been recording steadily since 1977, when he established his own record company, Nine Winds Records. Critical praise for these efforts has become routine.

Vinny Golia at the Painted Bride Art Center, 230 Vine St., tomorrow at 8 and 10 p.m. Tickets are $12. Phone: 925-9914.

"BLOOD" RETURNS. James "Blood" Ulmer will bring his innovative guitar playing to Philadelphia for the first time in about 10 years when he performs at the Community Education Center in West Philadelphia tomorrow night. It should be interesting, to say the least.

James "Blood" Ulmer at the Community Education Center, 3500 Lancaster Ave., tomorrow at 8 and 10 p.m. Tickets are $8 ($15 for both shows). Phone: 387-1911.

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