Giovanni Moltoni: 3 (2008)
Italian guitarist and Berklee College of Music educator Giovanni Moltoni exercises restraint while using dynamics via animated and at times, blitzing single note flurries to augment his line of attack. With his third release as a leader, he communicates an affinity for keen compositional prowess. Hence, it's not yet another solo-heavy guitar-based quartet jamboree.
Moltoni launches the festivities with the opener titled "Once More," where Fernando Huergo lays down a booming bass line to round out a pulsating groove for the guitarist's memorable yet simple chord motif. Here and throughout, the band projects a breezy gait yet, open it up on occasion. Many of these works are constructed upon Moltoni and trumpeter Greg Hopkins' alternating fours, as they often use depth and space as a vantage point.
The guitarist's shrewdly enacted thematic riffs serve a dual purpose as he comps and raises the pitch when required. To that end, the quartet is rarely in a rush to make its point. And it's more about clarity of execution, where the musicians let the respective pieces breath and then top it all off with soaring solo spots. On "Mystery Box," Moltoni uses his synth to add a dark and somewhat haunting textural component, serving as the basis for Hopkins' muted notes and drummer Bob Tamagni's gently rolling pulse.
The quartet renders a few tender moments while spinning a largely, radiant outlook. And they up the ante in spots via their high-flying bop lines, however the musicians rarely let matters get out of hand. They turn the tide some, with a peppery jazz waltz during "Blindsided," which is a piece that might spark notions of vintage Freddie Hubbard, due to Hopkins' nicely-paced breakouts. A refreshing and appealingly articulated endeavor it is.
Track Listing: Once More; New Home; While We Wait; The Search; Moonlight; On a Summer Day; Mystery Box; Blindsided.
Personnel: Greg Hopkins: trumpet; Giovanni Moltoni: guitar/synth; Fernando Huergo: bass; Bob Tamagni: drums.
Record Label: CH2 Music Productions