Michael Costantino, The Song Inside the Tune Review


Michael Costantino, The Song Inside the Tune Review

Mastery Meets Melody: Michael Costantino’s The Song Inside the Tune

by Jeff Becker

michael-constantino-cdCelebrated pianist and Berklee School of Music alumnus Michael Costantino has released The Song Inside the Tune, where he weaves a rich tapestry of musicality and skill. The album displays Costantino’s ability to delve deep into each piece’s core and extrapolate the underlying emotionality. His interpretation of each tune offers a refreshing lens through which to appreciate these timeless classics in rhythm and harmony.

Opening with a melodic drum introduction from Thierry Arpino, Costantino, and bassist Harvie S then sets the tone for a stirring jazz rendition of Bill Wither’s “Just The Two Of Us.” Set to a straight-eight feel, the trio builds a decisive groove, with Costantino’s fluid solo guided by the melody as he improvises through the harmony. S and Arpino provide support and interact with Costantino’s ideas, yielding a refined jazz version of this beloved song.

Costantino introduces Beethoven’s “Pathetique” to the jazz realm in a daring departure from the norm. S’s bowing of the melody establishes the tone for this jazz exploration of Beethoven’s masterpiece. S transitions to pizzicato to set up a bass groove as Costantino plays the melody with glorious jazz harmony and a fluid feel. Costantino’s solo is lyrical and filled with an elegant jazz language that is classic in its delivery. The trio works to build energy, but always in a relaxed manner, focusing on communication with each other and the listener.

“Satin Doll,” a classic by Strayhorn and Ellington, receives an imaginative makeover. The song is infused with a funky straight-eight feel and takes on a new vibrant character. Costantino’s treatment of the melody is respectful and innovative, navigating through new chord progressions while retaining the tune’s original charm. With a new rhythmic treatment in the A sections, the trio transitions into a swing feel for the bridge, offering a delightful contrast and further enriching the arrangement.

Often musicians focus on innovation at the expense of tradition; The Song Inside the Tune is a welcome reminder of the power of classic melodies and the magic that happens when they are performed with respect, intuition, and technical mastery. From the seasoned jazz enthusiast to the casual listener, The Song Inside the Tune is a journey well worth taking.

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