Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Rino Arbore Quartet Sweet Wind NFR 2009

In jazz perhaps more so than any other genre of music you can go "Back To The Future: than outside of some technological advancements keeps the integrity of the music on a steady plain. The Rino Arbore Quartet released a delightful disc entitled Sweet Wind and without sounding a tad cliche this release blows past and in some cases thought with a sonic ebb and flow that easily stands the test of time without sounding dated or musically ambiguous on virtually any level.

European jazz is someone of a misnomer, while largely culturally based as is certain pockets of the western improvised we music we refer to as jazz there is a reinvention or sonic transformation of Sweet Wind into a far more modern if not contemporary post bop force that walks the sonic fine line between area of relaxation and occasionally pushing the more avant gard envelope but never into the sonic dead letter file.

This sophomore release for Arbore and this most inventive of quartets transcends the more typical "stoic" sound associated with European jazz and instead builds a sonic bridge between east and west for a sound that even some speciality labels have long sought out but was always "close but no cigar." Opening with "A New Spring" there is a more modern western influenced bop feel as this quartet merges this more improvisational western approach with the the more traditional European lyrical movement. Shifting harmonics yet a dynamic tension that is well ground and built around odd meter and changing key. Arbore creates a lyrical sense of purpose on guitar while the harmonic development of trumpet & flugelhorn player Roy Nikolaisen play musical cat and mouse with an adventurous lyrical development held together with the finesse and subtle nuances of drummer Gianlivio Liberti and double-bassist Camillo Pace. "Light On The Bridge" is where this formidable quartet dance near the edge of the avant gard cliff without every pushing the music or more importantly the listener over the sonic edge. Shifting meter on the fly and working without a harmonic net shows the impeccable skill sets each member bring to the table on a syncopated gem that while dancing on the edge is still a tune built around lyrical purpose and a punctuated vitality. "Blue 9" is a slower somewhat more melancholy ballad, introspective yet consistently moving as this is where Sweet Wind succeeds on so many levels with the primary level of triumph being that of ebb and flow.

Lyrical flow. A sonic purpose. A eerie zen like less is more and while at their most intense, this quartet does not waste not but instead caresses their very existence allowing a lingering sense of sonic being and fulfillment long after the tune has finished. Hybridization is overtaking post bop and modern jazz and now the addition of Sweet Wind is one of the rare recordings that turns from the more introspective and deeply culturally rooted recordings to a recording that embraces its own cultural while utilizing all most to perfection the western improvisational techniques that we in the United States refer to as jazz. Dramatic, sweeping and adventurous finds Sweet Wind as a sweet musical ride!

5 Stars

Tracks: A New Spring; Light On The Bridge; Blues 9; Photo From Italy; Place; Snow Silence; Sweet Wind; Bon Ton; Last Passage.

Personnel: Rino Arbore: guitar; Roy Nikolaisen: trumpet & flugelhorn; Camillo Pace: double-bass; Gianlivio Liberti: drums.