Most jazz musicians aren’t always afforded the luxury of performing with pioneers such as saxophonists Steve Lacy, Lee Konitz, and trumpeter Enrico Rava among others too numerous to cite here. And with Umberto Petrin’s new release titled, Ellissi
the pianist/composer continues to align himself with laudable modern jazz talent as American saxophonist/composer Tim Berne along with drummer Roberto Dani and bassist Giovanni Maier combine forces for this most persuasive set consisting of Petrin original compositions.
The proceedings commence with two pieces titled, “Soggetti” and “SAMO” featuring Petrin, Maier and Dani working within the piano trio format as the band artfully constructs then rapidly disintegrates richly melodic themes via call and response mechanisms. Petrin’s well-stated block chords and unpretentious melodic intervals weave in and out amid Dani’s superb yet understated polyrhythmic attack, while Maier provides the anchor here and throughout. Alto saxophonist Tim Berne joins the band on track three (“...Continua”) with an arrival that elicits imagery of a musician who perhaps arrived a little late for the gig as the saxophonist steers the band through lightning fast bop-ish unison choruses. Although Berne resides at the pinnacle of the modern jazz totem pole, this writer has not heard the saxophonist partake in much of anything that rings of mainstream or even free-bop in quite some time. Yet the band skirts the – outside - on “Forme Prossime” featuring some truly dynamic and often stylish interplay between Petrin and Berne atop Maier’s zealous lines and Dani’s multifaceted attack. However, Petrin directs the band through some soulful, blues driven interludes on “Tempi Molto Moderni” as they emit an air of deception partly due to the pianist’s shrewd tenacity and investigative approach.
Ellissi is a fine outing and features enough twists, turns and hooks to maintain one’s attention however, on the track titled, “Visioni di Tristano n 1”, Petrin performs against a backdrop of what is supposedly the “sound made by one of Jean Tinguely’s sculptures”. Not sure what this is all about yet the so-called – sound of a sculpture – appears to be some sort of clanging noise. A bit distracting, yet only a minor complaint; otherwise, the band gets the job done in consummate fashion. Hence, a memorable outing that transcends traditional boundaries! Recommended.
* * * * (out of * * * * *)
Umberto Petrin; Piano: Giovanni Maier; Bass: Roberto Dani; Drums: Tim Berne; Alto Saxophone (Tracks 3,4,5 & 7)