373

Francesco Cafiso Quartet: Angelica

Dan McClenaghan By

Sign in to view read count
Angelica claims a spot as a superior quartet set—alto saxophone and a rhythm section—right at the very beginning, not with the Duke Ellington-penned title tune, but with a Billy Strayhorn gem, "A Flower is a Lovesome Thing." Italian saxophonist and jazz prodigy, Francesco Cafiso—just nineteen years old at the time this music was laid down—ignores the "never open with a ballad advice," proving you can't always let conventional wisdom twist your arm. It's a wonderful, tender exploration of the familiar tune, with the rhythm team shimmering, floating around Cafiso's deliberate and reverent treatment of the melody.

"Angelica," the other Ellington Songbook tune here, is done with a carefree panache, bubbling, Latin-style, behind the leader, who injects a bit a Cotton Club growl into his tone.

Cafiso wrote four of the songs in the set. The highlight of these is "Scent of Sicily," a wistful, abstract tune with a floating feeling. Cafiso's tone is sharp and tangy in front of a spare and subtlety-nuanced accompaniment. "December 26," another Cafiso-penned tune, showcases pianist Aaron Parks' light keyboard touch on a short but gorgeous solo leading into some splashing-of-bright-colors accompaniment to Cafiso's high-energy blowing of the serpentine melody.

Horace Silver's "Peace" explores tranquil beauty at a leisurely pace, featuring, again, Parks in another concisely laid-back solo spot. Sonny Rollins' "Why Don't I," with its shuffling tempo features Cafiso in a trio mode, backed by bassist Ben Street and Adam Cruz, sounding very free in a mid-sixties Rollins-esque way, blowing with a cool, blue-flame fire.

Cafiso closes the set out with the ruminative Nello Toscano tune, "Winter Sky." The saxophonist and the band bask in the tune's pensive mood, wrapping things up with three and a half minutes of unalloyed beauty.

Angelica is a fine introduction to a rising saxophone star.

Track Listing: A Flower is a Lovesome Thing; King Arthur; Angelica; December 26; Peace; Scent of Sicily; Waiting For; Why Don't I; Winter Sky.

Personnel: Francesco Cafiso: alto saxophone; Adam Cruz: drums; Aaron Parks: piano; Ben Street: bass.

Title: Angelica | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: CAM Jazz

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Album Reviews
Multiple Reviews
Album Reviews
Read more articles
Francesco Cosa & The Assassins meets Duccio Bertini

Francesco Cosa & The...

Clean Feed Records
2018

buy
Moody'n

Moody'n

Verve Music Group
2011

buy
 

Dear George

MASS MoCA
2011

buy
Angelica

Angelica

CAM Jazz
2010

buy
 

4 Out

Casa del Jazz
2010

buy

Related Articles

Read Migrations Album Reviews
Migrations
By Dan McClenaghan
June 25, 2019
Read Samba Azul Album Reviews
Samba Azul
By Mackenzie Horne
June 25, 2019
Read Blue Waltz - Live at Gustavs Album Reviews
Blue Waltz - Live at Gustavs
By Jakob Baekgaard
June 25, 2019
Read Deep In The Mountains Album Reviews
Deep In The Mountains
By Chris Mosey
June 25, 2019
Read Phoenix Rising Album Reviews
Phoenix Rising
By Jack Bowers
June 24, 2019
Read Last Works Album Reviews
Last Works
By Doug Hall
June 24, 2019
Read The Change Album Reviews
The Change
By Roger Farbey
June 24, 2019