Not only is Italian acoustic guitarist Simone Guiducci a strong soloist, but he's very adept when infusing jazz talents such as Chris Speed (clarinet), Erik Friedlander (cello), and Ralph Alessi (trumpet) into his master game plan. And of course, Guiducci leads a fine sextet consisting of a clarinet/accordion based attack atop a powerful rhythm section.
Guiducci's radiant compositional fortitude features a potpourri of regally pronounced statements and Mediterranean themes, garnished with the soloists? feisty improvisations. The band incorporates a festive outlook with pumping rhythms and blithely organized unison lines among the hornists. On the opener "Gramelot in 6/8," Alessi soars skyward as the band attains a boiling point towards the coda. No doubt, Guidduci's Gramelot Ensemble performs with overt elements of soul and panache via an idealized sense of purpose, as they combine soft melodies with torrid episodes on works such as "La sigagna." The band effectively minces the sounds of Italy with dynamically inclined jazz grooves to complement a few tasty diversions here and there.
Speed leads the group through some highly charged Balkan style passages on occasion, while Friedlander does a superb job of adding pathos to the sentimental characteristics of his original composition "The After Hours." Overall, this is enlightening stuff! Unassumingly charismatic, Guidduci continues to flaunt his personalized approach to modern jazz in a conclusively prolific way! (Feverishly recommended.)
Track Listing: 1. Gramelot in 6/8 2. Voccuccia de no pierzeco 3. La sigagna 4. Chorale 5. The After Hours 6. Kompa 7. Last Chorale and Dance 8. Filastrocca per Martina
I love jazz because it is both challenging and exhilarating, and the endeavor of improvisation is the highest form of art.
I met so many great musicians--including my two earliest heroes, Maynard Ferguson and Dizzy Gillespie--by attending concerts
and being willing to treat them with the respect they deserve.
The best show I ever attended was the Pat Metheny/Ornette Coleman Song X concert at Cornell University.
The first jazz record I bought was an RCA compilation by Dizzy Gillespie.
My advice to new listeners is to not be afraid to listen to something because you're not familiar with the artists or the band or
the genre or anything - this is music that is best experienced through discovery.