New Album Proves It’s Time for the Rose Ann Dimalanta Trio

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By Deuce

It’s a wonder what the Rose Ann Dimalanta Trio is able to accomplish on its recently released LP, It’s Time. The threesome, comprised of Dimalanta on vocals and, judging by her Instagram page, comfortably (if not more so) accomplished in front of the piano, keys, and lead synths, Raymond McKinley on bass and Massimo Buonanno on the cue sticks, jettison through a variety of styles, tempos, and time signatures that almost defies categorization on this 12-cut affair. From the opening notes of “Forever Day By Day” to the closing chords of “That’s All”, the threesome evoke sonic images of sunrises and moonrises, shifting seamlessly through original compositions powered by Dimalanta’s husky delivery.

A quick perusal of the group’s background quickly clears up how they’re able to consistently create complex, complete tunes—some of which are wonderfully bereft of vocals. Dimalanta spent time as part of Prince’s New Power Generation, which is evinced not only in the maturity of her delivery but also in her peerless piano work that powers many of the numbers. Moreover, she’s coming straight out the land of O (Oakland, California), as is McKinley, who’s track record includes history with some of the most high profile performers from the Bay Area such as Tower of Power, Sheila E., and icons like Patti Labelle. With Buonanno keeping time with live drums, the trio’s a fully functioning band first—which is not to downplay the efficacy of the singing and songwriting on display on It’s Time.

The inaugural number is perhaps the most challenging of the collection, managing to combine a breezy outdoor concert feel with wonderfully effervescent drumming and plush, buoyant keys. The groove’s original, the feel is distinctly funky, and the trio take off into virtually uncharted territory for your aural pleasure. On “10 Miles to Empty”, the three-pack exchanges the surreal stirrings of “Day by Day” for a quirky, playful bass line that guides Dimalanta over an array of choruses, verses, bridges, ad-libbing…She even comes in scatting on “Seven Days,” perhaps the best number of the set, which is pure instrumental bliss until the singer eases in crooning a good 3:20 seconds into the cut, before restoring this track’s distinctive jazz feel.

In this respect “Seven Days” typifies everything that’s most remarkable about the trio. It amalgamates the boldness and spirit of pure jazz with a distinctly urban, even Latino feel in some places, yet never does so with the bland predictability of elevator music or contemporary pop formulas. You might want to cop this album while it’s still around but, judging by the quality of the output, hopefully there’ll be more.

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