Simone Guiducci Gramelot Ensemble: Chorale (2002)
Not only is Italian acoustic guitarist Simone Guiducci a strong soloist, but he's very adept when infusing jazz talents such as Chris Speed (clarinet), Erik Friedlander (cello), and Ralph Alessi (trumpet) into his master game plan. And of course, Guiducci leads a fine sextet consisting of a clarinet/accordion based attack atop a powerful rhythm section.
Guiducci's radiant compositional fortitude features a potpourri of regally pronounced statements and Mediterranean themes, garnished with the soloists? feisty improvisations. The band incorporates a festive outlook with pumping rhythms and blithely organized unison lines among the hornists. On the opener "Gramelot in 6/8," Alessi soars skyward as the band attains a boiling point towards the coda. No doubt, Guidduci's Gramelot Ensemble performs with overt elements of soul and panache via an idealized sense of purpose, as they combine soft melodies with torrid episodes on works such as "La sigagna." The band effectively minces the sounds of Italy with dynamically inclined jazz grooves to complement a few tasty diversions here and there.
Speed leads the group through some highly charged Balkan style passages on occasion, while Friedlander does a superb job of adding pathos to the sentimental characteristics of his original composition "The After Hours." Overall, this is enlightening stuff! Unassumingly charismatic, Guidduci continues to flaunt his personalized approach to modern jazz in a conclusively prolific way! (Feverishly recommended.)
Track Listing: 1. Gramelot in 6/8 2. Voccuccia de no pierzeco 3. La sigagna 4. Chorale 5. The After Hours 6. Kompa 7. Last Chorale and Dance 8. Filastrocca per Martina
Personnel: Simone Guiducci acoustic guitar; Fausto Beccalossi accordion; Achille Succi clarinets; Guido Bombardieri clarinets; Roberto Dani drums & percussion; Salvatore Maiore acoustic bass.
Special Guests: Ralph Alessi trumpet (tracks 1,4); Erik Friedlander cello (tracks 3,5); Maria Pia de Vito vocal (track 2); Chris Speed clarinet (tracks 6,7); Nicolas Simion soprano sax (tracks 9).