Thursday, November 8, 2012

Fabrizio Sferra Quartet Untitled WJ 2012 l

"Music is the universal language..." How many times have we heard this well worn adage bannied about?

While my Italian has morphed into nothing more than what would get one's face slapped at their favorite watering hole on a friday afternoon, there is an elegance perhaps an air of sophistication or better still a harmomic exploratory. Keeping in mind thanks to the linguistic struggles on my end it would appear that the latest offering from this stellat 4tet should be available here in the United States on November 8, 2012. This formidable yet incredibly organic quartet features Dan Kinzelman on tenor sax, clarinet and bass clarinet from where their rich almost earthy quality originates from. On piano we have perhaps one of the two most prolific pianists to come out of Italy over the last half century. Abchoring the rhythm section we find drummer Fabrizio Sferra and double-bassist Joe Rehmer holding down the fort and never leaving the pocket, they swing hard or not at all.

The melodic core of this work appears to be simple melodies built around complex rhythmic patterns. Kinzelman's fluid range of motion on tenor sax is equally balanced by an intriguing counterpoint provided by pianist Giovanni Guidi's perpetual yet fluid range of motion providing the listener with not one but two anchors from which to take refugee from the approaching harmonica storm that seems to slip in and back out unannounced.. "Skall' opens with a beautiful melody with a smoldering piano undercurrent giving a steady range of perpetual motion and textored flavor. "The accomplicies" stick just a toe in the free jazz waters only to discovered a wonderful yet somewhat ambigious soundscape of color and spatial grandeur. Normally at this point in a recorded performance the quartet would be dancing close to the self indulgent edge yet they mastefully keep a surprising accessibility and brightness to their sound. "Simply Back" is a delightful exploratory featuring double bassist Joe Rehmer.

There is a classic zen like treatment to these arrangements by drummer Fabrizio Sferra and a deceptively subtle western "pop" influence creeps in and out, around and through just about any passage one can name. From carefully selected bits of personal brilliance we find, straight ahead along with post bop and brief excursions into free jazz just fot the experience. The harmonic accessibility of some of the more western influence creatures a simplified layer of flavor.

Most of us have a "bucket list" of some sort of things we would like to do before we sashay off this planet. For me, spend one month in Italy and completely immerse myself in the culture as well as the language, music, and fine arts. Based on the harmonic movement between all 15 of what amounts to as one act plays done on the fly this release receives the highest marks possible!

Tracks: Skaal; IX Elegia;The Accomplices; Simply  back; Quai des Orfevres; The Snow Child; Scout, Jem and Boo; Sunbathng In Cenral Park; Yesterday's Sun; The arrangmentl Untitled #28; Eye of the Needle; Keep on walking; All of us; Goodbye; Mr. M.

Personnel: Fabrizio Sferra: drums; Dan Kinzelman; tenor saxophone, clarinet, and bass clarinet; Giovanni Guidi;piano:  Joe Rehmer; doublebass: