Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Andrea Veneziani 2012 Release of the Year Nominee

Bassist Andrea Veneziani charted his own musical course as he journeyed from Rome to New York in the summer of 2009. Proving that some dreams do in fact come true, March 13th marked the release of Oltreoceano. Veneziani teams up with pianist Kenny Werner and drummer Ross Pederson to introduce the American audience to the incredible gifts this Tuscan-born bassist and composer has to offer.

Oltreoceano includes some compositions that are incredibly free form by design with an open-ended improvisational take happening live in the studio without advance planning. An intriguing dynamic tension including the minor-key "Mark Rothko" plays well against compositions from Charlie Parker, Bill Evans and the Thelonious Monk classic "Pannonica." There is a captivating harmonic development throughout this release as an unmistakable influence from Bill Evans seems to permeate this organically rich release. Far more than the typical piano, acoustic bass and drums trio there is a musical cohesion that is deceptively spatial in concept yet surprisingly intimate in execution.

"Night Flight" is a Veneziani original that a ballad with an intriguingly subtle swing which highlights the deft touch of pianist Kenny Werner while made whole with the subtle finesse of drummer Ross Pederson and the lyrical anchor of Veneziani. The Bill Evans tune "Time Remembered" opens with a soulful sonic excursion from Veneziani which ultimately blooms with a artful sense of timing and flair typical of an Evans tune but handled with extreme care and sensitivity in this intimate setting so as to lose nothing in translation. "Traffico" is a syncopated gem from Veneziani where the trio conducts a free form sonic exploratory with an infectious swing and shifting harmonics without a net. A most formidable trio in full effect.

Andrea Veneziani is but one of the more prolific talents to make his way to the jazz mecca that is New York City from Rome. Oltreoceano is a stunning debut and should quickly have Veneziani as a bassist to watch in the near future. Andrea Veneziani is far more than the next flavor of the month hanging out in odd meter or getting bogged down in a variation on the speed is king mentality. Veneziani is a prolific talent both as an instrumentalist and as a composer and Oltreoceano is indeed one of the very finest trio releases for the year.

5 Stars

Tracks: Free Episode #1; Night Flight; Segment; Free Episode #2; Time Remembered; Traffico; Mark Rothko; Free Episode #3; Pannonica; In Viaggio con Te.

Personnel: Andrea Veneziani: double bass; Kenny Werner: piano; Ross Pederson: drums.

A You Tube Taste of Andrea Veneziani