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Mark Masters: Blue Skylight

Angelo Leonardi By

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Mark Masters è uno dei massimi esponenti contemporanei dell'orchestrazione mainstream. In trent'anni d'attività professionale ha inciso una decina di dischi, in formazioni comprendenti strumentisti di primo piano come Oliver Lake, Lee Konitz, Billy Harper, Peter Erskine o Steve Kuhn.

Come altri suoi lavori anche questo progetto è un concept album dedicato a protagonisti della storia musicale afro- americana ma vanno evidenziate alcune novità. Il tributo è rivolto a due musicisti, Charles Mingus e Gerry Mulligan, con un medio organico a geometria variabile: ad eccezione dell'ultimo, i brani dispari sono del contrabbassista mentre quelli pari sono composti dal sassofonista e bandleader.
"Non aveva senso restare fedeli a Mulligan o Mingus nel voler catturare lo spirito di ognuno -ha precisato Masters -Non voglio sembrare egocentrico ma in quello che faccio preferisco esprimermi a prescindere da chi sia il compositore."

Per questo motivo il percorso musicale si rivela coerente pur nel variare della strumentazione: i temi di Mulligan vedono in front line quattro sassofonisti (due tenori, un contralto e un baritono) mentre in quelli di Mingus uno dei sax tenori e il baritono sono sostituiti una tromba e un trombone.
La cifra stilistica del disco è uno swingante modern mainstream, con agili orchestrazioni che sostengono i numerosi interventi individuali. I temi sono trattati con gran rispetto ma se gli arrangiamenti su Mingus scivolano senza troppo ferire (ottimo comunque "Eclipse" nei suoi riferimenti ellingtoniani) , i momenti più originali vengono da quelli di Mulligan. La flessuosa dinamica e la radiosa timbrica "West Coast" rendono accattivanti le esecuzioni di "Wallflower" e "Out Back of the Barn" e dei dinamici "Birds of a Feather" e "Motel."
Tra i solisti più in vista ricordiamo l'inossidabile sax contralto Gary Foster, ormai ottantenne; il sax tenore Jerry Pinter , il pianista Ed Czach e Ron Stout alla tromba.

Track Listing: Monk, Bunk and Visa Versa; Out Back of the Barn; So Long Eric; Wallflower; Peggy's Blue Skylight; Strayhorn 2; Duke Ellington's Sound of Love; Apple Core; Eclipse; Birds of a Feather; Motel.

Personnel: Gary Foster: alto saxophone; Jerry Pinter: tenor and soprano saxophones; Gene Cipriano: tenor saxophone (2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 11); Adam Schroeder: baritone saxophone (2; 4; 6; 8; 10, 11); Ron Stout: trumpet (1, 3, 5, 7, 9); Les Benedict: trombone (1,3,5,7,9); Ed Czach: piano; Putter Smith: bass; Kendall Kay: drums.

Title: Blue Skylight | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Capri Records

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