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Flutet At Donte's: Jam Session Of Limitations

October 14, 1987|LEONARD FEATHER

A band name such as the Flutet suggests an organized group. However, on the evidence presented Monday at Donte's, it would appear that this is simply a collection of five musicians, co-led by flutists Sam Most and Fernando Gelbard, in a loose and typically casual jam session. Most has been playing jazz flute since those two words sounded like a contradiction in terms. He is still one of the most competent exponents of an instrument that does not always seem to lend itself to this kind of setting.

The problem mainly was the absence of a contrasting horn. Gelbard, an Argentine promoter who has produced a number of albums, is a man of obvious limitations as a flutist. At times he would offer hesitant counterpoints to Most's exposition of the theme; as a soloist his lack of assurance, both in ideals and intonation, was made doubly conspicuous by the juxtaposition of a performer as experienced and skillful as Most.

The leaders were supported by a capable rhythm section, with the assertive piano of Frank Collett, steady and unobtrusive drumming by Carl Burnett, and most notably John Giannelli, another of those nimble bass players who have proliferated in recent years. His solos were the high points of the set.

For variety, on "Easy Living," Most switched to tenor saxophone, which he played with an odd, smoky sound. During the group's closing theme he erupted suddenly into an amusing tongue-in-cheek scat vocal.

The quintet's limitations were not helped by its repertoire, which never moved beyond the predictable litany of worn-thin standards, from "I Love You" to "Autumn Leaves." If Most and Gelbard want to keep a unit together, they could use some serious woodshedding on fresh, challenging material.

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