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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Paolo Fresu Devil Quartet: Desertico

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Italian trumpeter Paolo Fresu has always been more angel than devil, though he's fronted quartets that name check both of those respectively heavenly and hellish entities. His horn work is coolly lyrical and spellbinding, regardless of the setting it's found in, but Fresu also has an impish side to his personality that takes over at certain times; he taps into that deviousness in a few places on Desertico, but the majority of the music is gorgeous, reflective and peaceful. While Fresu embraces the calm in many a place on this album, he doesn't start things off in ...

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Omar Sosa & Paolo Fresu Duo: New York, NY, January 24, 2013

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Omar Sosa & Paolo Fresu DuoBlue NoteNew York, NYJanuary 24, 2013 Some musicians settle into a club and simply play a set of music, but that's never the case with Omar Sosa. The pianist treats every performance as a musical séance and an opportunity to bare his soul. It's hard to know whether to call his work jazz or spirit music, but labels aren't really important when it comes to his work; his impressive oeuvre speaks for itself, regardless of what it's called. When Sosa came through New York in early ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Omar Sosa & Paolo Fresu featuring Jaques Morelenbaum: Alma

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Trying to keep pace with the musical projects of pianist Omar Sosa or trumpeter Paolo Fresu is an almost-athletic pursuit. Calling either man prolific is an understatement, but what's more impressive than the quantity of music they release is the quality of their output. Both have tapped into an eternal wellspring of creativity that eludes most artists, with an ability to conjure the spirits of sound at will. Their first encounter dates back to 2006, when Sosa asked Fresu to come aboard for a performance which resulted in Promise (Skip, 2007)--a live recording featuring Sosa's quartet, Fresu, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Paolo Fresu: Songlines / Night & Blue

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Paolo Fresu's Songlines/Night & Blue is a beautiful performance by a musician who does not feel compelled to prove himself with pyrotechnics. Instead, on this two-disc set, the Italian trumpeter prefers speaking his piece with lush melodies and a rich full horn sound, supported by an exceptional quartet. Being an Italian album, it seems appropriate to use a few musical terms. The entire affair, around 140 minutes in length, is taken sostenuto (smoothly), with a pace that slides between adagio (slowly) and andante (walking), but never goes much faster than that. But this down-tempo consistency should not be ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Paolo Fresu / A Filetta Corsican Voices / Daniele di Bonaventura: Mistico Mediterraneo

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At a time when cross-pollination has become the new musical evolution, ECM Records remains at the vanguard. Whether blending music of Tunisian origins with European impressionistic concerns and hints of New World groove on oudist Anouar Brahem's The Astounding Eyes of Rita (2009), or marrying Persian percussion with Baroque instrumentation and Fourth World improvisation on keyboardist Jon Balke's Siwan (2009), few labels (if any) can boast such an impressive catalogue of constant innovation, where unfailing respect for tradition is matched by an equal disregard for the hard-coded conventions that seem, on the surface, inherent to its very definition.

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ralph Towner / Paolo Fresu: Chiaroscuro

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Since moving to Italy over a decade ago, guitarist/pianist Ralph Towner's output as a leader has been woefully infrequent, with only two discs released this decade--2001's Anthem and 2006's Time Line, both on the label that's been his home for over 35 years, ECM. It's not that he hasn't been busy; he continues to work and record regularly with Oregon, the group that he co-founded nearly 40 years ago, heard most recently on the Grammy Award-nominated 1000 Kilometers (Cam Jazz, 2007), and on From a Dream (Material, 2009), in a stellar guitar trio with Wolfgang Muthspiel and Slava Grigoryan.

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ralph Towner / Paolo Fresu: Chiaroscuro

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After Enrico Rava, the most important trumpet player in Italy is Paolo Fresu. The fact that he is not well known in the United States may be about to change, because he is now an ECM recording artist. The label has placed him with major people: Carla Bley on The Lost Chords Find Paolo Fresu in 2007 and now guitarist Ralph Towner on Chiaroscuro. A pairing of trumpet and acoustic guitar is unusual. Towner and Fresu have played together rarely and never before as a duo but they are made for each other. Both are post-modernist romantics ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ralph Towner / Paolo Fresu: Chiaroscuro

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Continuing his long and fruitful relationship with Manfred Eicher's ECM Records--yielding a slew of successful solo records and concerts, acclaimed group work with Oregon and Solstice (also featuring Jan Garbarek), and duo work with John Abercrombie, Gary Peacock and Gary Burton--guitarist/pianist Ralph Towner has become something of an icon for the German label. Chiaroscuro marks another chapter in Towner's longstanding interest in duo work, this time pairing himself with Italian trumpeter Paolo Fresu. This largely restrained and meditative duo explores, over the course of ten pieces including Miles Davis/Bill Evans' “Blue in Green," the tonal variants of brass and strings, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Paolo Fresu/Richard Galliano/Jan Lundgren: Mare Nostrum

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This magical debonair international trio reminds us once again of the porosity of walls between nations and fluidity of musical styles, as it flits through an enticing shadow world that recaptures Paris in the 1950s. Swedish Jan Lundgren's pointillist piano blends dreamily with Richard Galliano's poignant squeezebox and Sardinian Paolo Fresu's acerbic, haunted trumpet to raise the shades of Edith Piaf, Jacques Brel, Miles Davis, Charles Trenet, Maurice Ravel and Josephine Baker. Waltzes, of course, are numerous, swirling and dreamy affairs that evoke smoky cabarets, midnight quais, Seine-side trysts. Unisons between Galliano and Fresu are mesmerizingly resonant, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Paolo Fresu: Mare Nostrum

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Italy's Paolo Fresu (trumpet), Frenchman Richard Galliano (accordion) and Swedish pianist Jan Lundgren get together to form what may well be the first Eurojazz supergroup. All have established their credentials playing with big names: Fresu with Carla Bley, Gerry Mulligan, David Liebman, Dave Holland, John Abercrombie, Jim Hall and Toots Thielemans; Galliano with George Mraz, Al Foster, Ron Carter, Chet Baker and Jan Garbarek, in addition to being a member of Claude Nougaro's band for several years; and Lundgren with Johnny Griffin, Benny Golson, Herb Geller, James Moody and singer Stacey Kent. It's a curious line-up, instrumentally, but one that ...



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