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Joe Grandwilliams
Good Times (New York), August 2000

Tenor saxophonist Del Gatto gives lie to the belief that the instrument is basically a mellow implement, suited to soft deep passages. Sure he finds plenty of places for the familiar voicings, however he is also capable of scathing solos. With a band that defines all star, Del Gatto with Randy Brecker on trumpet and flugelhorn, guitarist Joe Cohn, bassist Chip Jackson, drummer Victor Lewis Steve Turre on trombone and Ron Feuer on keyboards, Del Gatto equally mixes original compositions with the classics. The sound is absolutely alive. The recording was done direct to 2-track, and the engineering is as good as the playing. Solos abound. The project is built around Lewis’s drums, Jackson’s bass and Joe Cohn’s absolutely stellar guitar work. The horns whether in solo or ensemble performance are magnificent. “You Don’t Know What Love Is” is a relatively compact, but lush piece. It is a great relaxer for the closer, “My One and Only Love.” This piece alone is worth the price of the collections. Cohn moves in and out against Del Gatto, while Feuer ebbs and flows on the organ with a veritable ocean of sounds. Lewis has his drums tuned in a manner suggestive of the fifties and sixties. Big and open, his solo on Duke Ellington’s “Caravan” borders on historic. Seeming to live in the tom toms, he will occasionally

reach into the cymbals to throw some lightning among the thunder. Brecker who is decidedly under utilized in this project, is loosed on Caravan. Cohn shows an abundance of chops and speed while never compromising his tone. Turre sets up Del Gatto for a second round with a run of staccato notes. Again here are more solos worth the price of the disc. Needless to say this disc is highly recommended. This is his first venture as a leader. It should be the first of many. For more information, go to

Michael G. Nastos

A 30-year veteran of the NYC jazz and studio scene, this is unbelievably Del Gatto's debut recording as a leader. You know him (and Lou Marini) as the prime sax soloists for the Saturday Night Live Band. Old friend Randy Brecker on trumpet, pianist/organist Ron Feuer, guitarist Joe Cohn, bassist Chip Jackson, and drummer Victor Lewis comprise this stellar ensemble, with SNL bandmate Steve Turre on trombone occasionally. Del Gatto is one of the warmest, most mature, original sounding tenor saxophonists you will ever hear. He's cliche free, cool, extraordinarily literate, and tuneful. He is also an intriguing modern mainstream composer as evidenced on half of the ten tracks. They include two truly outstanding cuts: the great swing groove with guitar/tenor unison and organ backing on the title cut, and the stealth, bitter shuffle "Long Divorce Blues" with a hefty tenor/guitar lead and "Sidewinder"-type two-chord organ accents. Perhaps an Arnold Becker theme song? "Ain't Too Hip (To Hip Hop)" is a simple, contemporary guitar/organ-oriented groove biscuit supporting three horns. Del Gatto adapts two famous standards, one, an extrapolated line on "Our Delight" called "Barbados Delight," edits the original Tadd Dameron line with three horns, a patented Turre solo and "Ornithology"-type solo from Cohn. The version of "Just Friends" as "And Friends" has Brecker and the leader jumping in and out of the melody, utilizing double stops, and a rambling, hard charging attitude. Standards include the "Seven Comes Eleven" bass line informing the hard swinging, three-horn "Caravan" with Lewis' always compelling drum solo, the well swung "I Thought About You," and 12-plus minute, modally vamped, improv stretched "My One & Only Love." Del Gatto is also a prime ballad purveyor as proven in his solid, lustrous interpretation of the interesting choice "Autumn Nocturne" and the piano/tenor only ice melter "You Don't Know What Love Is." Make no mistake that this is a wonderful document of Del Gatto's musical powers, using an attractive combination of instruments and great compositions. Del Gatto's definitely got it, and this is a strong candidate for jazz CD of 2000.

The Jazz Report

Nice tunes, nice playing are at the heart of tenor saxophonist Lew Del Gatto's Naxos disc Katewalk. Del Gatto keeps the groove in place without to (sic) many frills allowing the soloist to glide along unencumbered. This is basically a high end blowing session with excellent charts. featuring some tasty B-3 organ from Ron Fuer, spirited trumpet playing from Randy Brecker, trombonist Steve Turre, guitarist Joe Cohn, with the impeccable Victor Lewis on drums.

C. Michael Bailey
All About Jazz

"Del Gatto, a veteran of the Saturday Night Live band, takes a straight-ahead approach to his jazz. He employs Randy Brecker, Victor Lewis, and SNL bandmate Steve Turre in his refined mix of chittlin' circuit blues and sophisticated standards. Katewalk is a funky collection of standards and originals that are inherently toe-tapping. The bluesly convolution of the title cut sets a sturdy tone for the rest of the disc. "Caravan", "You don't Know what Love Is", and "My One and Only Love" hold up well under Del Gatto's funnky attitude (even in the ballads) Randy Brecker and Steve Turre smoke whenever they pass wind through their respective instruments. The super treats of this record are the greasy organ-tenor combos ("Katewalk", "Long Divorce Blues", and "Ain't too Hip"). This is well thought out music."

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