Dreyfus Records: Crossing Continents with Music
The strain of modernism which can be followed on Dreyfus does not only include pianists like Martial Solal and Jean-Michel Pilc, but also drummer Aldo Romano, saxophonist Rosario Giuliani and guitarist Philip Catherine. Romano is one of a prominent line of drummers who have recorded for Dreyfus, the most famous being Roy Haynes, who has received a special treatment in the shape of a luxurious box set: A Life in Time: The Roy Haynes Story (Dreyfus, 2007). As a stylist, Romano lies closer to the fluorescent timekeeping of Paul Motian than the hard swinging of Haynes, and, like Motian, he is an accomplished and ambitious composer, which is shown on Origine (Dreyfus, 2010), an album that incorporates a wide range of sounds. "Pasolini," a homage to filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini, is a silky piece of swing woven in a rich carpet of brass, whereas "Il Camino Part 1-3" are gentle folkloric vignettes, using flutes and Spanish guitar. Throughout the album, Romano shows himself as an exceptional composer of ballads. "Touch of a Woman," "Dreams and Waters" and "For Michel," remembering the late pianist Petrucciani, are all delicate in their complex romantic texture, reminiscent of the vintage songs of Duke Ellington. Origine is a truly significant work from one of the foremost drummers in European jazz.
Whereas Aldo Romano lets his Italian roots shine through in his romantic balladry, saxophonist Rosario Giuliani shows his origin in the wildness and passion of his playing. The famous Italian temperament is translated into a kind of blowing that is both heated and tender. Considering his highly emotional approach to playing, it is ironic that the title track, and the opener on his album Lennie's Pennies (Dreyfus, 2010), is written by the pianist Lennie Tristano, who famously shunned emotionalism in music. However, Giuliani tackles Tristano's contrapuntal intellectualism with grace, making it fresh and fiery.
Overall, Lennie's Pennies sports an eclectic program, with a nice mixture of standards, modern classics such as Jimmy Rowles' "The Peacock" and Joe Zawinul's "74 Miles Aways" and originals by the leader and pianist Pierre de Bethmann, who contributes his lovely "Un Des Sans" and "Patience." The latter is a specially touching ballad, adorned by crystalline harmonies on Fender Rhodes. Giuliani shines strongly on his own swinging, mid-tempo ballad, "Dear Father," and also showcases a knack for Charlie Parker-like bop on the fast-paced "Over Lines." Lennie's Pennies certainly isn't cool jazz or third stream, but it is a nice selection of tunes from a very hot saxophonist.
Concert in Capbreton