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ROPE: Fabrizio Puglisi / Stefano Senni / Zeno De Rossi: Saints And Sinners (2010)

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ROPE: Fabrizio Puglisi / Stefano Senni / Zeno De Rossi: Saints And Sinners How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

All jazz trios are charged with the command to "make it new," and very few accomplish that directive. Some impersonate the giants of jazz, while others play a parody—massacring styles in the name of modernizing the sound. Neither is the case for the trio known as ROPE. Pianist Fabrizio Puglisi, bassist Stefano Senni, and drummer Zeno De Rossi regenerate the music of Thelonious Monk
Thelonious Monk
Thelonious Monk
1917 - 1982
piano
, Duke Ellington
Duke Ellington
Duke Ellington
1899 - 1974
piano
, W.C. Handy
W.C. Handy
W.C. Handy
1873 - 1958
arranger
, John Lewis
John Lewis
John Lewis
b.1920
piano
, and Bill Frisell
Bill Frisell
Bill Frisell
b.1951
guitar
with a vitality and passion for trio jazz that feels pristine.

Saints And Sinners follows Have You Met Miss Bates? (El Gallo Rojo, 2005), where the trio covered Monk and Ellington, but also John Zorn

John Zorn
John Zorn
b.1953
sax, alto
, Jelly Roll Morton
Jelly Roll Morton
Jelly Roll Morton
1890 - 1941
piano
, and Misha Mengelberg
Misha Mengelberg
Misha Mengelberg
b.1935
piano
. The Dutch pianist is the bellwether here, in that the off-centered approach of ROPE is akin to Mengelberg's quirky vision.

The disc opens with a crash and a three-second nod toward chaos, before swinging deeply into "St. Louis Blues." Where noise would be expected, a syncopated blues approach is delivered. De Rossi's Latin drumming accents the knowing Herbie Nichols

Herbie Nichols
Herbie Nichols
1919 - 1963
piano
-style piano of Puglisi, updating stride to bebop. They take Fats Waller
Fats Waller
Fats Waller
1904 - 1943
piano
's "Mamacita" in the same pace, reeling off a Cuban-styled romp that would make Bebo Valdes
Bebo Valdes
Bebo Valdes
1918 - 2013
piano
smile. Then too, Monk would be pleased with their take on "San Francisco Holiday," where Puglisi first abandons the keyboard for the piano's viscera. The piece begins as a dream, before the taut strings successfully give up the melody. Both Senni and De Rossi are in on the joke, fussing with the edges until the pianist is ready to state the theme proper. The medley of Ellington's "Kinda Dukish" and "Rockin' In Rhythm" emits an almost pure jubilation. The trio circles the master's signature sounds with admiration, but also with a playful buoyancy. The music elevates, then keeps going.

Like most great players, ROPE's music swings best at its most quiet. Its cover of Bill Frisell

Bill Frisell
Bill Frisell
b.1951
guitar
's "Monica Jane" and Puglisi's "Triogramma" accomplish a solid sense of purpose with an economy of notes. Both tracks—the folksy Frisell piece and Puglisi's original—emanate a significant vibe that reconstructs an argument for jazz as the universal language.

Track Listing: St. Louis Blues; San Francisco Holiday; Django; Medley: Kinda Dukish, Rockin' In Rhythm; Baron Samedi; Mamacita; Monica Jane; Triogramma.

Personnel: Fabrizio Puglisi: piano; Stefano Senni: bass; Zeno De Rossi: drums.

Record Label: El Gallo Rojo Records

Style: Modern Jazz


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