Fabio Morgera (Red Records: Slick (1999)
Fab-ba-ba-ba-bio!. Slick is a brand-spanking new release from Sergio Veschi’s Red Records. It is a disc in keeping with both his goals of capturing only the top-drawer of jazz and documenting Italian jazz musicians. Fabio Morgera is a talented trumpeter/flugelhornist who has assembled an exceptional medium sized group of his fellow countrymen. Morgera and his group play a smart accessible brand of Hard/Post Bop that is full of life and invention whether an up-beat barn-burning blues or an ethereal, smoldering ballad.
Little-Big Band. Morgera drives a septet that includes a tenor saxophone (J.D. Allen), trombone (Jason Jackson), vibes (Bill Ware), and guitar (Peter Griesinger) in addition to Morgera and his rhythm section (Eric Revic on bass and Alvester Garnett on drums). This combination accomplishes an overall very mellow and bottom heavy tone to support Morgera’s pensive trumpet and flugelhorn playing. This is most evident on the ballads and slower pieces. Morgera is a master at playing the trumpet at a slow tempo. He is always on the note and never drags.
The Italian Renaissance. Morgera arranged all of the music and wrote all but three of the compositions on this disc. One of the pieces credited to him, “Things” is actually a take off of “All The Things You Are.” The disc highlight (aside from all of the slow pieces) is Roland Kirk’s “Serenade to a Cuckoo.” Morgera is at his slurring, swaggering best. But it is the slow stuff...Morgera’s flugelhorn on “Flores” and “Napoli”, the latter piece having a decidedly Middle Eastern flavor, that make this disc. Morgera’s playing is smooth and seamless. A delight, as are the performances of the rest of his band.
In the final analysis, Slick is an urbane, beautifully dense yet light as a feather performance of rarified jazz. This music is very much a reflection of the label president, Sergio Veschi. Slick should be considered a super value for anyone’s entertainment dollar. Spend it.
Track Listing: NY Pace, Things, Flores, Serenade to a Cuckoo, Troupe, Napoli, Two Lovers, Asia Minor Blues, Con Alma, The Kicker, Step Out, Old Devil Moon, And again. (Total Playing Time 70:06).
Personnel: Fabio Morgera: Trumpet, Flugelhorn, F. Tuba; JD Allen: Tenor Saxophone; Jason Jackson: Trombone, Bass Trombone; Peter Griesinger: Guitar; Bill Ware: Vibraphone; Eric Revic: Bass; Alvester Garnett: Drums.