Giacomo Gates

No male jazz singer has a bigger gap between talent and fame than Giacomo
Gates. A former construction worker who started his singing career late in life,
Gates has released one excellent album after another, yet few people have heard
of the guy. With his strong baritone and keen sense of timing, he reshapes
standards at will, inserting both vocalese and scatting where no lyrics exist.
He tackles more recent material on his new album, which was not intended to be a
posthumous tribute; Gil Scott-Heron died in May, but Gates recorded these songs
last fall and winter. In the course of these 10 tunes, Gates reveals new
insights into Scott-HeronÕs oeuvre, from uptempo pieces like “Show Bizness” to
slower numbers like “Winter in America.” Incisive (and still relevant) social
commentary abounds, of course. Gates’s distinctive delivery – singing marginally
below pitch, bending notes downward – is on display throughout, and his comfort
with scatting is abundantly clear on tunes like “Legend in His Own Mind.” (Out
now)

by Steve Greenlee
Boston Globe

 



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