Rootless: Brian Had A Little Plate (2006)
Brian Had A Little Plate is as good an example as any of modern jazz that is cognizant of the history of the tradition but clearly draws upon contemporary influences from hip hop, electronics, pop and other sources. While the roots of the Italian quartet's music are more obscure, its branches are clearly growing in the direction of the members' own individuality.
Rootless, created in 2001 (and featuring pianist Luca Dell'Anna, saxophonist Francesco Bigoni, drummer Massimiliano Sorrentini and bassist Danilo Gallo), defines its identity via thorough musicianship and open interaction. The recording embodies an acoustic jazz aesthetic, but the X factors can be found in their unique compositions and the addition of guitarist Simone Guiducci, who provides stellar work and interesting sounds.
A sense of openness runs through each piece of music. On the opening "Brian's Little Plate, the energy is felt with earth-quaking bass, pulsing drums and an expanding melody as the piano, saxophone and effects-laden guitar build on the riff. The rhythm section lays out a plush carpet on the modern free blues of "Keep the Focus, allowing the instruments to indulge in a free-form ballad. The old world imagery of "Brunswick Road and the staggered pattern on "Unhandled Exception are performed with thought-provoking and artistic touches.
This multifaceted exquisiteness can also be found on "Song for My Mother, which begins as a ballad but morphs into something strange, with multiple timbres of sax, piano and percussion, and concludes with spastic guitar and bowed bass sounds. Rootless is not bound by the confines of standard jazz, but expands on its themes. The throbbing loop-like ostinato on "Lopa Tola ends with the plug being literally pulled as the music drains away. Inventive and interesting, this is music of the here and now.
Track Listing: Brian's Little Plate; Keep the Focus; Brunswick Road; Unhandled Exception; Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep; Nice Guys; Song for my Mother; Lose the Focus; Lopa Tola; Preparazioneacca.
Personnel: Luca Dell'Anna: piano; Francesco Bigoni: saxophone; Massimiliano Sorrentini: drums; Danilo Gallo: bass; Simone Guiducci: guitar.