Lorenzo Feliciati: Frequent Flyer (2012)
Clearly placing himself in the Pastorius lineage in both style and ambition, Feliciati delivers a collection of diverse offerings on which he consistently reaches an impressive degree of musicianship. It's often a fine line, however, between homage and derivativeness, and Frequent Flyer crisscrosses that line over the course of its 11 tracks. Fortunately, Feliciati's formidable bass abilities mean that even in the most "Jaco-esque" moments he's done such a good job that tunes like ""The Fastswing Park Rules," Groove First," and "Riding the Orient Express" are entertaining enough to serve as transitions to the album's other more exceptional material.
Frequent Flyer's highpoints come from further afield and often benefit greatly from the powerful lineup of artists that appear throughout the album. The percussively rambunctious interpretation of Wayne Shorter's oft-approached "Footprints" stands out for its layered Afro-Cuban rhythms, while the sonically adventurous "Gabus and Ganabes" blends subtle rhythmic textures with Di Cesare's evocative violin for a distinctive, plaintive ballad. Other impressive pieces include a cover of King Crimson's "Thela Hun Ginjeet" and the affects laden "The White Shadow Story."
The most provocative piece on the album, however, is far and away "Never Forget," perhaps not coincidently the album's most abstract as well. Here, trumpeter Cuong Vu joins, along with DJ Skizo, to craft an ultra-slow composition owing as much to electronica as anything else. Vu's distorted trumpet sound seems almost directly borrowed from the Blade Runner (1982) soundtrack and, when combined with Skizo's whale song effects, Ferroni's abstract percussion, and Feliciati's subtle note placement on upright electric bass, results in a soundscape rich with otherworldly textures, out of which erupts subtle flares of emotion all the more memorable for their fleeting, muted nature.
With Frequent Flyer, Feliciati has shown himself both an apt disciple of Pastorius as a bassist and an innovative composer and bandleader with modernistic tendencies. The eclectic nature of his approach, however, cuts both ways. On the one hand, Feliciati shows both the flexibility of the bass as an instrument and his own ability to shift contexts; on the other, the lesser works and lack of focus distract from Feliciati's more modernistic and distinctive achievements.
Track Listing: The Fastswing Park Rules; Groove First; 93; Riding the Orient Express; Footprints; Never Forget; Gabus & Ganabes; Perceptions; The White Shadow Story; Law & Order; Thela Hun Ginjeet.
Personnel: Lorenzo Feliciati: Basses; Cuong Vu: Trumpet (6); Roy Powell: Keyboards (2); Pat Mastelotto: drums (3, 4); Bob Mintzer: Saxophones (1); Patrick Djivas: bass (7); Guido Block: Bass (11); Aidan Zammit: Keyboard (3); Phil Brown: guitar (4); Jose Fiorilli: Hammond organ (10); Andrea Di Cesare: Violin (7); Daniele Gottardo: Guitar (9); Lucrezio De Seta: Drums (1); Roberto Gualdi: Drums(5, 10); Maxx Furian: Drums (5); Pier Paolo Ferroni: Drums (6, 8, 9); Stefano Bagnoli: Drums (5); Daniele Pomo: Drums (10); Paolo La Rosa: Percussion (2); DJ Skizo: Turntables (6, 8, 9).
Record Label: RareNoiseRecords