Simone Guiducci Gramelot Ensemble: Dancin' Roots (2005)
Italian acoustic guitarist Simone Guiducci often employs well-known American jazz musicians for his conspicuously ambitious projects. With this effort, he benefits from clarinetist Don Byron's expertise, along with rising star trumpeter Ralph Alessi and other top-notch instrumentalists. Guiducci's trademark fusion of Mediterranean themes with complex harmonic sojourns once again offers more than just a few rewarding attributes. His muse features a classy brew consisting of complex unison lines, off-meter Latin grooves, and lyrically rich melodies.
Accordionist Fausto Beccalossi's lyric-less vocals provide yet another dimension to the band's makeover. And besides episodes where Guiducci and Byron engage in torrid soloing ventures, an air of European romance permeates the preponderance of this gorgeously arranged program. They morph an mood of optimism with periods of lament and solstice, while often generating matters into fiery climactic opuses tinged with wistful motifs. The musicians implement a slight shift in strategy on "Irony, featuring drummer Roberto Dani's punctual backbeats, setting the stage for the soloists' introspective explorations.
Overall, Guiducci's distinct musical presence shines rather luminously throughout this upbeat and tremendously entertaining session.
Track Listing: 1. Maestro di sogni (intro) 0.50; 2. Gramelot Dance 07.11; 3. Canzone per Miranda 06.52; 4. La Tur al Sucar 06.52; 5. Chorale n. 2 07.26; 6. Come dici 6.49; 7. Irony 07.43; 8. Blanc 04.35; 9. Nedah 07.15; 10. Maestro di sogni 04.16.
Personnel: Simone Guiducci: acoustic guitar; Fausto Beccalossi: accordeon; Ralph Alessi: trumpet; Achille Succi: clarinet, bass clarinet; Don Byron: clarinet; Roberto Dani: drums, percussion; Salvatore Maiore: acoustic bass; Andy Milne: piano (track 5).