Described as “one of Italy’s hidden treasures,” saxophonist Rosario Guiliani won’t remain a secret much longer if he continues to release albums like Mr. Dodo
. Guiliani’s facility on both the soprano and alto saxophones has led to comparisons with Eric Dolphy, Wayne Shorter, and others who were accomplished on both instruments. Measuring his playing against that of other hornmen with long established reputations would be unfair; Guiliani is a fully mature artist with a unique voice. His music doesn’t recall the influence of specific players insomuch as it speaks of a thorough understanding and appreciation of styles and genres. His up-tempo pieces—“Mr. Dodo,” “September,” and the bluesy “Dear Tucci” from last year’s excellent luggage
are constructed with the wide melodic and harmonic intervals of bebop. He has a talent for composing ballads, and the slow pieces on Mr. Dodo—“”Francy’s Song” and “From The Ashes” are standouts—reveal a gift for romantic melancholy. (Guiliani’s interpretive skills are also heard to great affect: Michel Petrucciani’s introspective ballad “Home” is given a sensitive, deeply moving interpretation, the sax caressing the melody as one’s finger would trace the images on a family photograph.)
Once again pianist Pietro Lusso abets Guiliani, and the interplay between the two is nothing short of telepathic. Bassist Dario Rosciglione and Marcello Di Leonardo on drums round out the quartet. It’s Guiliani’s name on the cover but everyone is given plenty of opportunity to shine, and the musicians play with professionalism, taste and restraint. Highly recommended.
Personnel: Rosario Guiliani-alto & soprano saxophone,
Marcello Di Leonardo-drums