In reviewing an earlier album ( Conversation
) by Dino and Franco Piana, I’d made the assumption that they were brothers but after reading the notes and seeing the photos in the booklet accompanying Interplay for 20
I realized that they are father (Dino) and son (Franco). Either way, they make a terrific team, and this new venture is as invigorating as the previous one, which earned the following words: “The more I listen to this Conversation,
the more engaging it sounds it would appear to be a strong contender for the annual Top 10 honors” [which it was]. Franco, I further noted, “is an exceptionally gifted composer / arranger whose lyrical and provocative charts . . . give the band a secure framework from which to swing with aggression and enthusiasm.”
Nothing has changed here; all of the compositions and arrangements are Franco’s, and each of them is handsomely drawn and consistently rewarding, enhanced by expressive melodies, elaborate ensemble passages, rhythmic variety and plenty of blowing room. Speaking of which, the prowess of the soloists is clearly awesome. Dino plays valve trombone about as well as anyone (yes, I’ve heard Brookmeyer, McConnell, Enevoldsen and the other contenders) while Franco is a monster on flugel, sounding like a cross between Chet Baker and Conte Candoli (if Conte had played flugel instead of trumpet).
Special guest Fabrizio Bosso weighs in with persuasive statements on the suitably named “Go” (trumpet) and the last movement of the five-part suite “Interplay for 20” (flugel), complementing forceful commentary by pianist Stefano Sabatini, bassist Dario Rosciglione, drummer Pietro Iodice, trumpeters Claudio Corvini and Aldo Bassi, trombonists Enzo De Rosa, Massimo Pirone and special guest Roberto Rossi, and saxophonists Feruccio Corsi, Gianni Savelli, Giancarlo Maurino, Sandro Deidda and Franco Marinacci.
“Interplay” opens the album, its movements labeled simply “Slow,” “Medium,” “Slow,” “Fast” and “Medium.” Franco, Dino and pianist Sabatini are featured on the lovely ballad “For You,” which is followed by the sweeping “Four and Twelve,” sumptuous “Giuma,” snappy “Go,” spirited “All Friends” and shapely “Duality.” Dino sculpts each chart with the assurance and commitment of a master craftsman, and there’s never a lackluster moment in any of them.
At the risk of repeating myself, another strong contender for the annual Top 10 honors.
Contact: Pentaflowers, Via E. Nicolai 16, Rome, Italy. Phone +39 0635498458; fax +39 0635498094.
Personnel: Dino Piana, co-leader, valve trombone; Franco Piana, co-leader, composer, arranger, conductor,
flugelhorn; Fernando Brusco, Doriano Beltrane, Claudio Corvini, Aldo Bassi, Fabrizio Bosso
(special guest on