Listening to the opening "Dance of Mind on A Strange Day, you'll hear why Carla Marciano is probably as fierce and relentless as anyone who plays the saxophone. Her passion, articulation and tone also show that she has been greatly influenced by the great John Coltrane. From Salerno, Italy, Marciano has performed in many bands and events, forging a name as a musician with unbridled abilities. Like her first recording, Trane's Groove (BlackSaint, 2003), she continues to show that she is not just imitating the legend but has what it takes to be a stand-up musician in her own right.
Marciano is backed by three equally proficient musicians who deliver seven Marciano originals and two covers in a satisfying and hearty serving of hard bop. "Spiritual Game is as good as any to hear the quartet's strength. The saxophone and piano intro leads into a steady bass and drum-paced tempo with hints of gospel, blues and soul. The drums snap with crispness, paving the way for a lively piano spot by Alessandro La Corte. Bassist Aldo Vigorito dances with the riff as both Marciano's soprano and Gaetano Fasano's drum solo create heat.
A complete player, Marciano burns on the scorching "Russian Lullaby and soothes tenderly on the ballad "I Try to Remember. Her notes are precise, totally free, and change at her whim with stamina and control, bringing to mind alto saxophonist Kenny Garrett. Her alto phrasing and modulation on the mellow "Far Away is just as moving as her cool soprano on the upbeat "From Where?
It would be too easy to dismiss Marciano as just another Coltrane wannabe. But when you hear her play, it's clear that she has the goods to do her own thing, and she does it with confidence on A Strange Day.