Tommaso Starace Quartet: Blood & Champagne (2011)

By Published: | 3,253 views
How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Tommaso Starace Quartet: Blood & Champagne
Somewhere in a parallel universe far, far away Tommaso Starace is fêted as one of the finest saxophonists in contemporary jazz. It's the only way to explain why Starace remains so underrated on this little world. Blood & Champagne, his fourth album, should bring Planet Earth into line. Starace has a distinctive, hard-edged, tone and a style that brings together elements of the bop and post-bop greats right back to Charlie Parker
Charlie Parker
Charlie Parker
1920 - 1955
sax, alto
. He creates an intense and exciting sound with, at times, a genuinely visceral quality.

The Italian-born, UK-based musician regularly leads bands in both countries. On Blood & Champagne, Starace leads three British players who are among the finest the country has to offer.

Bassist Laurence Cottle's varied resumé includes work with Claire Martin
Claire Martin
Claire Martin
b.1967
vocalist
, Tim Garland
Tim Garland
Tim Garland
b.1966
saxophone
, Brian Eno
Brian Eno
Brian Eno
b.1948
author
and Black Sabbath. He favors the electric bass guitar, and plays with a fat, rounded, tone whose richness and warmth is an excellent complement to Starace's dryer, tighter, sound. Pianist Frank Harrison
Frank Harrison
Frank Harrison
b.1978
piano
is a founder-member of the Orient House Ensemble, fronted by star altoist Gilad Atzmon
Gilad Atzmon
Gilad Atzmon

saxophone
: his playing sparkles with invention—percussive yet romantic. Chris Nickolls doesn't yet have the back catalogue of Cottle or Harrison, but this young drummer swings with apparent ease. The album also benefits from terrific sound quality courtesy of Derek Nash at Clown's Pocket Studio.

Starrace's playing gains in confidence and ingenuity with each album. He opens this album emphatically with his alto, but some of his most exciting playing is on the soprano sax. On Billy Strayhorn
Billy Strayhorn
Billy Strayhorn
1915 - 1967
piano
's "Johnny Come Lately," he plays his soprano with terrific upper register control and purity. On his own "Intercalare," an upbeat number based on a short, repeated, melody, his soprano playing is bright and good-humored. Starace is at his most intense on his lengthy solo introduction to Betty Comden and Jule Styne's standard, "The Party's Over." The emotion in his playing is almost palpable, the tune adopting a more romantic mood once the rest of the musicians take over, with Starace also softening his tone when he returns for the final third.

Starace is a lover of photography, as he made plain with his second album, Tommaso Starace Plays The Photos Of Elliot Erwitt (Frame, 2006). On Blood & Champagne, Starace pays tribute to Robert Capa, famous for his shots of the Spanish Civil War and the D-Day landings, the photographer's work and lifestyle inspiring the frenetic, hard-driving, title track. This love of the visual image is reflected in Starace's playing, which readily conjures up stunning images of its own. An exciting talent, Starace is developing a seriously impressive body of work.

Track Listing: Il Tunnel della Libertà; Soundtrack; Prelude No. 20 in C Minor Op 28 / Even Mice Dance; Johnny Come Lately; Nuovo Cinema Paradiso; Days of Wine and Roses; Intercalare; The Party's Over; Blood & Champagne.

Personnel: Tommaso Starace: alto saxophone, soprano saxophone; Frank Harrison: piano; Laurence Cottle: electric bass; Chris Nickolls: drums.

Record Label: Music Centre Real

Style: Hot Jazz


comments powered by Disqus
Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW

Enter it twice.
To the weekly jazz events calendar

Enter the numbers in the graphic
Enter the code in this picture

Log in

One moment, you will be redirected shortly.

or search site with Google