The seventy-something Italian pianist follows Soprais (El Gallo Rojo, 2011), with his long-established quartet, by adding the early jazz instruments of clarinet and trombone, played respectively by Daniele D'Argaro and Mauro Ottolini. On the live Traditions And Clusters he also invites his contemporary , drummer Han Bennink
With Bennink in the house, the music skates, skips, and glides between what was once the new thing (circa 1920) to the new thing, without becoming estranged. The opener, clocking in at 24 minutes boils "I've Found A New Baby" (made famous by Benny Goodman
before him, begins in the jazz tradition, but twists the sound to make it his own. The Clusters referred to in the title are group improvisations by his quartet that are takeoffs on D'Andrea originals or a song penned by Billy Strayhorn
. Drummer Zeno De Rossi (perhaps the modern heir to the Bennink sound) replaces Bennink and saxophonist Andrea Ayassot and bassist Aldo Mella remain a stable improvising component to D'Andrea's quartet.
The second disc finds the D'Andrea Quartet expanded to a sextet with D'Agaro and Ottolini. The band once again mines Ellington Strayhorn, and Tristano, as well as touches of Chick Corea
. The delicate dance, push and pull between traditional jazz and the abstraction of free music get a crowd-pleasing workout here.
Track Listing: CD1: I’ve Found A New Baby/Turkish Mambo/Strawberries; Clusters N.1 /Monodic; Clusters N.2/Half Of The Fun; Clusters N. 3; Caravan; CD2: March; Vis Libera; A4 + M2; Turkish Mambo/Half The Fun; M3/Caravan; Into the Mystery; Old Time Blues.
Personnel: Franco D’Andrea: piano; Daniele D’Agaro: clarinet; Mauro Ottolini: trombone; Andrea Ayassot: alto saxophone, soprano saxophone; Aldo Mella: double bass; Zeno De Rossi: drums; Han
Bennink: snare drum (CD1#1, CD1#5).