Fabrizio Cassol - Alto saxophone
Michel Hatzigeorgiou - Fender jazz bass
Stéphane Galland - Drums
Fabian Fiorini - Piano
Here's an intriguing combination. The Belgian jazz trio, AKA
Moon, bring to their works progressive rock, fusion and world
music influences. Their unusual name arose from an early experience
in the Central African Republic studying the musical habits of
Aka pygmies! In 2017, they celebrated their 25th Anniversary
with the issue of a box set, containing 20 albums. A further album
will appear later this year. Consistently collaborative, they
are joined on this disc by another luminary of the Belgian jazz
scene, pianist, arranger and composer, Fabian Fiorini. Leader
and saxophonist, Fabrizio Cassol, has taken as his inspiration
a selection of single movement sonatas for harpsichord from among
the 555 the prolific Neapolitan composer (1685-1757) wrote. As
the liner notes inform us, 'Scarlatti's music is sometimes played
as is, sometimes skimmed or even just quoted, but its stylistic
specificity always remains evident'. Cassol brings to the table
the multi-cultural, cross-genre influences already mentioned.
I suspect the result will prove fascinating to lovers of classical
music, jazz and, of course, crossover.
Every track on the CD has its merits and indeed, particular
beauty. Four are outstanding. AKA 99 features the sublime
alto of Cassol with skilled accompaniment of a high order and
an insistent rhythm. AKA 141 presents us with a lively
theme driven along by some vigorous drumming and sonorous electric
bass (Hatzigeorgiou is from the school of Jaco Pastorius). The
alto strays nearer to free jazz this time around while Fiorini
demonstrates both his classical piano and jazz improvisation chops.
AKA 87 meanwhile is a Bach-like piece where all contribute
to the success of the track. Nothing short of lovely. AKA
492 is a further sprightly number with solid group performances
and the excellent keyboard skills of Fiorini putting me in mind
of Jacques Loussier. There are even hints of Balkan folk music
apparent. Elsewhere, a Middle Eastern flavour colours AKA
213, for instance. The same qualities of invention, group
cohesion and superb musicianship can be found, not just in those
singled out for comment but throughout the disc.
All in all, this CD makes for satisfying and engaging listening.
I especially appreciated Cassol's stylish alto as well as his
compositional flair. It is good to discover exceptional talent
one hasn't come across before.