Have I mentioned if given the choice to move to either New York City or perhaps Rome to cover jazz, I would opt for Rome. Clausio Scolari's Synthesis would be one of about 4 reasons/artists that come to mind that would seal the deal for me.
Critics whether they will admit it or not like things easy. Slap a generic genre on a recording, bag it and tag it and you are done. Not here...
Claudio Scolari, Daniele Cavalca and Claudio's son Simone Scolari have taken their previous recording Colors of Red Island and have created a critics worst nightmare but in an incredibly brilliant fashion. A sonic exploratory where what would be considered a more free jazz approach here in the west is merged with a deceptively subtle European chamber jazz approach to form an all most experimental hybrid of sound with a cinematic flair but with an organic symphonic undercurrent of new electronic sounds, instruments to create one of the most inventive recordings that I personally may have heard in perhaps a decade. A sonic exploratory would be inaccurate and disingenuous in describing the evolution of the remarkable recording but Synthesis does take on a more ambient pulse as the tunes are developed throughout. Synthesis is inventive, imaginative and intoxicating.
As a trio the ensemble uses an incredibly apt title. The addition of new instrumentation including the vibraphone, melodica and a variety of electronics including a synth computer adds to the texture and the harmonic colors presented in this dazzling display. The young Scolari is one of the finest trumpet players in the world jazz or otherwise. Simone Scolari proves he is the real deal with an expressive warmth to his tone, impeccable phrasing and improvisational technique that is spot on. Father Claudio Scolari is the lyrical heart of the trio and creates this unique synthesis of sound into a virtual three dimensional sonic depth of field. Daniele Cavalca is a magnificent bassist and his eclectic use of the vibraphone, piano and melodica are key to the lyrical development of each original composition.
The title track "Synthesis" opens with a distinctive Middle Eastern vibe carried through by Cavalca's imaginative use of the melodica. The rhythmic under current of "Expression of Image" is done with a sense of urgency, a lyrical sense of purpose and direction that while open ended in scope is controlled with a sense that the focus be placed on the groove as much as the end game of where the groove takes you. Music in the moment. "Dialog" checks in at just over fourteen minutes in length and welcomes you to the land of rhythm and groove. An infectious swing with bass line to match, a personal favorite off this most impressive release.
A formidable trio that at times sounds twice as large. The electronics used are done so with great care and the end result is an amazing development of sound and texture for a truly original sound that may indeed be the future of modern jazz. While musical frames of reference can be difficult depending upon deep catalog knowledge combined with the blatantly obvious that taste is subjective, there is a subtle sound at times reminiscent of some ECM recordings but make no mistake that the Claudio Scolari Proect and Synthesis is some of the finest original music to add to the prolific list of artists that are releasing new modern jazz that will soon be influencing the American market.
Tracks: Synthesis; Expression of Image; Dialog; Rituals; Fragment of Autumn; Rebirth; Hymn of the Inventions.
Personnel: Claudio Scolari: drums, percussion, synth computer, flute; Daniele Cavalca: drum vibraphone, piano, melodica, bass; Simone Scolari: trumpet.
5 Stars. A virtually flawless recording.