If you were somehow able to interject Miles Davis in his cool period into today's contemporary European jazz scene, you'd have to think he'd sound a lot like Paolo Fresu. But while Miles concerned himself with the sound of "urban" cool, Fresu offers a romance-infused cool. Think balcony on Mediterranean bluffs at sunset, a glass of Chianti in hand, staring deeply into the eyes of your partner, enjoying the salt air breeze wafting across your skin. This is the magic of Fresu.
Carpe Diem from the Paolo Fresu Devil Quartet offers spacious, sweeping, methodical tunes, with a rhythm that unfolds slowly, enveloping the listener in happiness. And Fresu's romantic vision is ably supported by Bebo Ferra on guitar, Paolino Dalla Porta on bass, and Stefano Bagnoli on drums.
Much of the album consists of balladsbeautifully written and constructed. "Home," "In minore," "Enero," "Ballata per Rimbaud," "Ottobre," "Giulio libano," and the stunning "Human Requiem" are primary examples. To take but one of these, "Enero" has the feel of film noiror New Wave cinemashot in black and white. There are lilting eighth notes, and Fresu and Fera play in unison or harmonize their lines. While Fresu's playing suggests Miles, Fera's has the sound of Ralph Towner, but with an Italian grace.
Not all is soft and warm, however. "Carpe Diem," the title tune offers an infectious bluesy rhythm. Other examples of happy blues explorations include "Un tema per Roma," where Fresu's technical mastery over his horns is on full display, and "Un poste al sole," which should be on anyone's list of great walkabout tunes.
The Milesian influence is most apparent on the composition "Lines." Porta walks the bass and Fresu plays jazzy lines above the walk. It sounds like a Fifth Avenue strut. There's a nice syncopated unison between trumpet, bass and guitar atop Bagnoli's brushwork -then the Fresu takes over in a solo.
One can be drawn to Carpe Diem for many reasons. Its "softly as a morning sunrise" approach is refreshing and welcome. Its romance is conveyed in Dante's saying, "L'amor che muove il sole e l'altre stelle." For lovers everywhereenjoy.
Home; Carpe Diem; In minore; Enero; Dum Loquimur, fugerit invida aetas; Lines; Secret Love; Ballata per Rimbaud; Ottobre; Un tema per Roma; Human Requiem; Quam minimum credula postero; Giulio libano; Un posto al sole.
Paolo Fresu; trumpet and flugelhorn; Bebo Ferra: acoustic guitar; Paolino Dalla Porta: doublebass; Stefano Bagnoli: drums.