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Offset 5: Deflections


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Offset 5: Deflections
Curiously, Italy's Offset 5 began as a trio and took more than a decade to become a quintet. Offset 5 began in 2010, when guitarist Marcello Abate formed an alliance with drummer Federico Negri and contrabassist Federico Negri in a trio devoted to tradition and standards. Offset 5 grew into a quartet with the 2016 addition of alto saxophonist Manuel Caliumi, which simultaneously occasioned the group's move away from standards and into their own, original compositions. (Caliumi and Negri respectively contribute saxophone and drums to the spoken jazz word project NoteSpeak, also based in Italy). Offset 5 became a genuine quintet when vibraphonist Giovanni Perin climbed onboard in 2018.

It's difficult to imagine previous iterations of the Offset 5 sound because Perin's melodic vibes run through Deflections like the Nile River flows throughout and nourishes Egypt.

Vibes provide the crisp alto sax with accompaniment and embellishment in the opening "Totoro," then pour out a solo that rains down delightful watercolor sounds, which Negri's cymbals playfully splash back. Vibes and percussion build up funky percolation to open "Alpaca," and as the alto sings the melody the vibes and electric guitar align and twine their voices into its melody. Perin's midsong solo shimmers with casual elegance, funky yet clean and classic.

"Zaratan" and "Ennio's Song" introduce different moods and sounds. Abate's strummed accompaniment paints the saxophone melody of "Ennio's Song," and vibe and sax solos, in beautiful shades of blue and gold, before stepping quick and sharp into his own bright spotlight. More acoustic strumming introduces "Zaratan," singing a sad little melody that the saxophone picks up and groans like a harmonica blowing some blues. "Zaratan" seems to float, completely suspended in its blissfully tranquil sound, with bass and drums mixed so quietly that they seem to whisper the rhythm behind Abate's romantic acoustic guitar solo.

Deflections also includes a free-flowing, inventive update on the classic "Summertime," one more textbook demonstration that Offset 5 is a jazz collective who can together make music that sounds much greater than the sum of its parts.

Track Listing

Totoro; Fall; Zaratan; Alpaca; Ennio's Song; Summertime; Stairs; Dinner Urge.


Offset 5
band / ensemble / orchestra
Manuel Caliumi
saxophone, alto
Giovanni Perin

Album information

Title: Deflections | Year Released: 2021 | Record Label: Self Produced

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