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Hailing originally from Sicily, pianist Salvatore Bonafede earned a scholarship to Boston's Berklee School of Music in 1986. A 1989 move to New York saw him playing with the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, Dewey Redman
. Bonafede moved back to Sicily in 1994, where he has worked with many jazz luminaries, including Joe Lovano's 12-Piece Orchestra. The résumé reveals a musician conversant in a variety of ensemble configurations, but Bonafede pares things down to a trio for Sicilian Opening.
The disc opens with the title cut, a jaunty, bounce-in-the-step tune, with crisp piano in front of Marcello Pelliteri's snappy, rat-a-tat drums and Marco Panascia's limber bass lines. It's a bright and buoyant introduction that leads into the stately "La Grande Ilusion," with its dark hues and Spanish atmosphere.
On this set of mostly original material, Bonafede and his band-mates display a relaxed cohesion, the leader's clean and concise touch, and a beautiful feeling for the blues, on "bbbb."
tunes. On the much-covered "Blackbird," the trio wanders into the familiar melody before, in true jazz tradition, taking the tune somewhere else altogether via spirited improvisation. "She's Leaving Home," one of Paul McCartney's lovelier melodies, sounds as if it might have Spanish origins in its rhythms, with Bonafede treating the melody with sparkle and respect.
"Appunti su Palermo" is a moody, late night ballad, full of dark moods and murky shadows; dangerous things lurking, circling, just out of reach. "Lode al Silenzio" has the trio working telepathically during the loveliest, most pensive and dreamy moments on the disc.
Sicilian Opening is a cohesive set of beautifully-crafted tunes, a truly fine piano trio outing from a searching and original voice.
Track Listing: Sicilian Opening; La Grande Ilusion; Ideal Standard; bbbb; WWW; Blackbird; It Plays From Far; Appunti su Palermo; Italian Ingegno; Lode al Silenzio; She's Leaving Home; Torre Ligny.
Personnel: Salvatore Bonafede: piano; Marcello Pelitteri: drums; Marco Panascia: bass.