gem, "A Flower is a Lovesome Thing." Italian saxophonist and jazz prodigy, Francesco Cafisojust nineteen years old at the time this music was laid downignores the "never open with a ballad advice," proving you can't always let conventional wisdom twist your arm. It's a wonderful, tender exploration of the familiar tune, with the rhythm team shimmering, floating around Cafiso's deliberate and reverent treatment of the melody.
"Angelica," the other Ellington Songbook tune here, is done with a carefree panache, bubbling, Latin-style, behind the leader, who injects a bit a Cotton Club growl into his tone.
Cafiso wrote four of the songs in the set. The highlight of these is "Scent of Sicily," a wistful, abstract tune with a floating feeling. Cafiso's tone is sharp and tangy in front of a spare and subtlety-nuanced accompaniment. "December 26," another Cafiso-penned tune, showcases pianist Aaron Parks
, sounding very free in a mid-sixties Rollins-esque way, blowing with a cool, blue-flame fire.
Cafiso closes the set out with the ruminative Nello Toscano tune, "Winter Sky." The saxophonist and the band bask in the tune's pensive mood, wrapping things up with three and a half minutes of unalloyed beauty.
Angelica is a fine introduction to a rising saxophone star.
Track Listing: A Flower is a Lovesome Thing; King Arthur; Angelica; December 26; Peace; Scent of Sicily; Waiting For; Why Don't I; Winter Sky.
Personnel: Francesco Cafiso: alto saxophone; Adam Cruz: drums; Aaron Parks: piano; Ben Street: bass.