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Unseen Rain Records


ROCCO JOHN Quartet

Embrace the Change

UNSEEN RAIN UR-9947 [67:54]

 

 

 

Wings

Escape

Circuits

Dial Up

Tango

Whispers

72’s

Wings (Epilogue)

Rocco John Iacovone (alto and soprano saxophones): Rich Rosenthal (guitar): François Grillot (bass): Tom Cabrera (drums)

Recorded March 2015, Urban Sound Studios, Riverdale, NJ

 

Rocco John Iacovone’s band builds up quite a head of steam in his latest disc for Unseen Rain. Sporting both alto and soprano saxes he leads the quartet with authority ensuring a splendidly meshing corporate sound is established and, more importantly, maintained. With his crisp drummer Tom Cabrera on hand, and with guitarist Rich Rosenthal threading through the spaces, sonically speaking, that only leaves the strong-hewn bass of François Grillot to supply some rock-solid support.

After Wings, an opener that shows Iacovone’s more ‘avant’ tendencies, Escape offers a slower, more deliberate number in which textures and tempo are subtly varied, and Circuits, an opus bursting with locomotive energy. Here the incisive rhythm and colour are increased by the sax man’s squawking whilst Grillot offers propulsively steady, unblinking support. Rosenthal is watchful here, Cabrera deft. One of the best features of the group is the interplay between sax and guitar, the thematic and colouristic interrelation between the two adding up to a study in productive contrast. The guitar in Dial Up is decidedly non-legato but offers instead staccati, precision and a persuasive use of space. Rosenthal is never afraid to lay out when need be. When Iacovone wields the soprano, as in Whispers, the results are also highly vitalising, though personally I prefer the reprise of the tenor/guitar adventures to be found in 72’s where Rosenthal’s scampering, shadowing guitar licks are never foiled by the leader’s athletic runs.

The final track reprises the opening, a rather Goldberg Variations kind of effect, and ends an album of some pugnacity, but also of some deft delineation of lines – all of which adds up to an interestingly individual slant on things.

Jonathan Woolf



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