Max Ionata is considered to be one of the most important jazz saxophonists working the contemporary Italian Jazz scene today. While somewhat of a late bloomer having moved to Rome in 2005, Ionata has gained considerable notoriety and reputation from international audiences and critics alike with this critic considering himself one of his more ardent fans.
Having worked the all important notable club and festival circuits in tandem with such acts as Robin Eubanks, Mike Stern and Bob Mintzer, Ionata now finds himself in as formidable and respectable a trio as you may run across on either side of the Atlantic. Kind Of Trio features Max Ionata on tenor saxophone, Clarence Penn on drums and Reuben Rogers on double bass. Opening with the Clarence Penn original "Brotherhood" there is a decidedly soul-lite vibe that runs through the trio including the lyrically charged solo from double-bassist Reuben Rogers as the trio moves forward with a dynamic lyrical sense of purpose but a tasteful understatement of finesse. Ionata's tone and phrasing are the stuff saxophone dreams are made of with players working their entire career to achieve the sound that seems to pour effortlessly from Ionata's horn. While the swing is slightly dialed back there is a a lingering musical sense of urgency that is captivating. The Max Ionata penned tune "Kumico" has a more post modern swing, a harder bop without the annoying edge found with players that lack the finesse or lyrical voice to make the sound work. Rogers and Penn of course anchor a stellar rhythm section with subtle nuances and controlled fury that makes the swing that much harder with only half the effort. A trio that can swing smarter but not harder is a beautiful thing. Closing with another post bop gold nugget is "Waiting For Eli" where the lyrical sense of urgency goes hand in hand with a swing that slowly creeps into your soul.
Max Ionata, Clarence Penn and Reuben Rogers are clearly masters of the musical understatement. Lyrical swing that explores the idiom to the fullest without self indulgence or overkill.
5 Easy Stars!
Tracks: Brotherhood; Con Alma; Kumico; But; Out Back; Nuovo Cinema Paradiso - Love There; The Change; To Be; Raven; Aurora; Waiting For Eli.
Personnel: Max Ionata: tenor saxophone; Clarence Penn: drums; Reuben Rogers: double-bass.