An artist of immeasurable talent, as artistically gifted as he is technically proficient.
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
Having walked away from contributing to major publications by choice my quest was to find the lyrical road less traveled, new artists with new voices and unique presentations. I began searching through Europe and while panning through the proverbial musical gold mine that is Italy, I discovered percussive instrumentalist, teacher and composer Marco Pacassoni and his 4tet. Some may ask, who? Pacassoni studied at Berklee under such luminaries as Jazz Master Gary Burton and the orchestral genius that is Vince Mendoza. The end result is a sound that borders on the cinematic while never losing an intimate lyrical presentation. A vibrant and far more percussive punch than his western contemporaries has Pacassoni walking a harmonic high wire without a net. The latest release features critically acclaimed pianist Michel Camilo.
Analyzing highlights would seem to be an exercise in futility as there is a remarkable consistency through Happiness while the melodic flow is meticulously manipulated in a myriad of presentations. "Michel" features the great Michel Camilo for a percussive onslaught of controlled sonic fury. They paint an aural landscape from a bold color palette while staying true to a distinct forward moving harmonic presentation that is the perfect storm of intensity and nuanced flavor. "On The Riverside" pulls from a more ambient contemporary base while lyrical conversations develop within the cast of musical co-conspirators. "Lullaby For Birdie" is an exquisite if not pristine ballad, cinematic in scope yet with an accessibility that transcends the norms of what traditional improvisational music is thought of here in the United States. "Metropolis" moves to the edge of the post modern fusion side yet never fully commits but allows the more cerebral presentation to challenge the listener as to what lyrical journey they may wish to experience.
Marco Pacassoni would be wildly accepted on any American stage or classroom. His almost equal use of the marimba takes what may have passed for an incredibly good release and moved Happiness into that special category of greatness that will be discussed for years to come. Virtually flawless.
Check out Marco Pacassoni at http://www.marcopacassoni.com
Tracks: Two Shades of Happiness; Metropolis; On The Riverside; Lullaby; Michel; Driving South; Mimu; Memory Tricks; Mi Concede Un Ballo.