Clearly the budget for the cover is bare bones but when the quintet is as solid as Matteo Fraboni's then the cover art is essentially window dressing at best.
A most impressive debut as a leader finds Fraboni with the ability to swing with the finesse and precision of masters twice his age. "Vibe" is pretentious, a completely played out word that smacks of over use not to mention in this context a musical ambiguity that clearly lacks specific meaning or definition. That being said, Fraboni swings from the soul. An innate gift to transcend the role of human metronome while transforming both himself and his god given ability to a level of musicality that again his peers can only aspire to.
"The Road" is certainly a prime example of the more modern urban jazz in full effect. One of the more delightful aspects to this recordings happens twice! There are two tunes that are both over ten minutes in length with each opening with a drum solo but neither turning into the more self indulgent bash fest one might expect. "Something New" takes on a more organic development with the retro sound of the rhodes coupled with a more modern contemporary saxophone feel to show a distinct compositional vision more so than just a human metronome with the ability to write music. "Umuntu Ngumuntu" takes on a far more spiritual quality with George Garzone's tenor saxophone acting as musical sensai keeping the upper hand over one of the tighter rhythm sections you may ever discover. While taste is of course a subjective experience the sonic tour afforded the listener should provide ample spatial accessibility for a transcendent adventure of the more modern jazz experience while never crossing the zen like less is more approach seemingly favored here.
While an artistically beautiful release the Johnny Medell cover "A Time For Love" is that odd flower one occasionally finds growing in what may seem the most unlikely of places. The same musical irony hold true for drummer Matteo Fraboni, an unlikely musical flower reaching full bloom in the most unlikely of places.
An artist of finesse, flair and fierceness as the situation dictates has Matteo Fraboni with a literally flawless debut and an artist whose name one should easily remember!
Tracks: 4 on 7; The Road; Something New; Dear Friend; Umuntu Ngumuntu; A Time For Love; 7 on 4.
Personnel: George Garzone: tenor saxophone; Logan Richardson: alto saxophone; Aruan Ortiz: piano, rhodes; Rashaan Carter: double bass; Matteo Fraboni: drums.