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Reviewers: Don Mather, Tony Augarde, Dick Stafford, John Eyles, Robert Gibson, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby

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Egea SCA 119





1. Maremma
2. La Danza di Zoe
3. Missing
4. Drost Nia
5. Infanzia
6. Vala Ralboni!
7. Ulisse
8. Come Nei Film
9. Yusif
Raffaello Pareti – Bass
Antonello Salis – Accordion, prepared piano, percussion
Stefano Cantini – Soprano sax
Bebo Ferra – Guitar
Stefano Bollani – Piano (tracks 2, 3, 6)
Walter Paoli – Percussion (track 4)

Some of the most exciting jazz is currently emerging from Italy – and here’s an example. Raffaello Pareti is a bassist who composed all but the first and last tracks on this intriguing CD. He leads a group of highly proficient musicians who are not above talking chances and even playing the fool.

After the introductory anonymous title-track, La Danza di Zoe starts with the piano of Stefano Bollani, whose unusual voicings are reminiscent of Lennie Tristano. This is a vibrant, jolly piece but Missing is slow and thoughtful, with soprano saxist Stefano Cantini stating the theme mournfully, then soaring up into the air for his solo. Incidentally, Stefano Cantini is translated as "Stefano Wine Cellars" on an internet site! Guitarist Bebo Ferra is equally pensive in his solo.

Drost Nia returns us to jauntiness, with accordion and soprano sax stating the theme together and then swapping mischievous ideas. While the accordion doodles, it sounds as if a fight has broken out in the studio with angry chattering and guttural mutterings which continue into the theme’s recapitulation. This track shows the group at its maddest but also its most technically brilliant.

Infanzia is a complete contrast – a floating melody featuring the guitar, which introduces the soprano sax and accordion harmonising tenderly together. Raffaello Pareti, who generally stays in the background, gets a bass solo here. Vala Ralboni! sounds as if it was co-written by Poulenc and Kurt Weill after a heavy drinking session – jovial but slightly dark, with amazing pyrotechnics from the pianist. The melody of Ulisse is stated by the soprano sax over a fluttering background which perhaps suggests the sea that Ulysses travelled across. Whatever this track represents, it is very beautiful.

Come Nei Film is a whirlwind affair, with soprano and accordion again taking flight in a catchy tune. The accordionist hums along to his instrument, rather like Slam Stewart did with the double bass. The final track introduces the prepared piano, making some outlandish sounds which anticipate the exotic atmosphere of the piece. Again, the daring of the musicians is matched by their technical prowess, making for a thrilling end to a thrilling album

Tony Augarde


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