Roberto Vally: Woody's Gap
Roberto Vally – “Woody’s Gap” (Woodward Ave Records)- One of the most challenging jobs of a radio program or music director is sifting through literally hundreds of songs a week to find the best to present to their audiences. In this era of artists “making music for the radio” vs “making good music” that will get on the radio, everything tends to sound the same. This translates for me to “boring”. Then a musician comes along with a song that reminds you there’s still hope. “Woody’s Gap” by Roberto Vally is just what the doctor ordered.
Named after a trail in the Appalachian Mountains. The journey to the Gap begins with Vally’s snappy bass melody, coupled with a finger-snap effect and sashaying horns, then eases into a funked up, full-on jam featuring Mark Etheredge’s bluesy key harmonies and Andrew Neu’s punchy sax melody over the intoxicating non-stop (and highly danceable) groove. On the second verse, the bass not only intertwines with the sax and horns, but Vally uses it as something of a rejoinder of the main melody. The dazzling magic continues with a snappy duet section by Vally and Etheredge’s elegant and at times twinkling keys, followed by a feisty brass interlude (all conjured by Neu). Once Vally’s wild scat kicks in, duetting with his freewheeling basslines and fronting the blazing horns, “Woody’s Gap” soars to an otherworldly transcendence. It’s a refreshing sound that blends traditional jazz with the contemporary feel that would nicely fit on any playlist. Could it be because the Brooklyn, N.Y. native who attended Julliard School of Music was trained in classical bass? Whatever the reason Roberto Vally delivers a great tune that won’t get lost in the “Sound alike” world of Smooth Jazz, this one screams individuality and a nice break from the ordinary.
You can join the hike to Wood’s Gap by tuning in to Jazz 91.9 WCLK or by streaming audio from this site.