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Album review: 'You're It!' by the Mike Melito/Dino Losito Quartet


When it comes to straight-ahead and hard-bop jazz in upstate New York, you’d be hard-pressed to find better musicians than drummer Mike Melito and pianist Dino Losito. A familiar fixture at the Rochester International Jazz Festival jam sessions, Melito has played with Benny Golson, James Moody, Eric Alexander, and many others. Losito has worked with greats such as Houston Person, Dave Liebman, and Wallace Roney.

On their new album “You’re It!” Melito and Losito are joined by veteran Philadelphia saxophonist Larry McKenna and New York City bassist Neal Minor.

Melito is not a showy drummer; when he solos on “Blondie’s Waltz” by George Coleman, it’s a precise exercise in punctuating the rhythm with intelligence and taste. The same can be said for Losito at the keyboard. Rather than show off with pyrotechnics, he explores the possibilities offered by each chord progression with a subtle touch. An excellent supporting player, Minor takes a fine solo on Bill Carey and Carl Fischer’s “You’ve Changed.”

McKenna is the third star here, playing each tune with gorgeous tone and phrasing, reminiscent of Stan Getz. McKenna contributes the title tune, an instant classic in the hard-bop tradition. The album’s other eight tracks consist of fresh takes on well-known standards such as María Grever and Stanley Adams’s “What a Difference a Day Makes” and some lesser-known but equally strong tunes including Wes Montgomery’s “Fried Pies.”

Ron Netsky is a contributing writer for CITY News.