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Carla Marciano: Change Of Mood

Mark F. Turner By

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The force: the essence of the great John Coltrane that so many musicians and fans have drawn inspiration from—its roots in the blues, swing, spirituality and exploration. Italian saxophonist Carla Marciano has been heavily influenced by it and channels that energy into her own music where she's well known for her awe-inspiring chops as witnessed on the Black Saint releases—Trane's Groove (2002), A Strange Day (2005), and here on A Change of Mood. As Star Wars' Yoda might say, "The force is strong in this one."

With her excellent working quartet, pianist Alessandro La Corte, bassist Aldo Vigorito and drummer Gaetano Fasano, the music is true to the post-Coltrane bop sound but, as the title implies, there is some change in Marciano's direction. The opening salvo "Hypnotic Touch" is typical Trane-sounding—hard swing, modal to the bone, free solos and Marciano playing alto like a hummingbird on straight nectar. But the change is most notable in the title, a wonderful composition that glides then gradually intensifies with smooth exchanges from bass to piano to Marciano's soaring sopranino. This new airiness is found in "Sunday Morning," with nice spots from La Corte and Vigorito as Fasano massages the timing.

"Blues At 2 PM" is undeniable, the band in total sync with Marciano's purity of tone—acrid, coarse and heartfelt. Tracks such as "Red Blossom" are a little nostalgic; reminiscent of time-weathered standards, but Maricano's playing (careful phasing and playfulness) is simply without reproach.

To swing or not to swing (like Trane); that is the question for Marciano. The force is in her sax-blood. Can she deny it; probably not. Though it would have been nice to hear more music such as the title, the recording is not diminished one iota. It's a further example of one of today's strongest female saxophonists coming into her own. Here's hoping there are more surprises from Marciano in the near future.

Track Listing: Hypnotic Touch; Change Of Mood; In Front of My Eyes; Unaware; Podgorica Bridge; Blues at 2 PM; Sunday Morning; Red Blossom.

Personnel: Carla Marciano: alto saxophone, sopranino saxophone; Alessandro La Corte: piano; Aldo Vigorito: bass; Gaetano Fasano: drums.

Title: Change Of Mood | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Black Saint

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