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I received a blessing in the mail the other day: three new Red Records releases. The Milan-based independent jazz label has been releasing brands of both American and Italian Jazz for the past quarter of a century. To a disc, all releases have been of the finest and highest quality. Drummer Salvatore Tranchini's new quintet release Faces is no exception.
From the very get-go, you knows who is the leader of the session. Trumpeter Farbizio Bosso?s hard bop "Eurostar" opens the disc with a Salvatore Tranchini drum fanfare that explodes into an up-tempo complex head elaborated by Bosso and saxophonist Daniele Scannapeico. The solos are scorching. Things slow down to a ballad pace on pianist Francesco Nastro?s beautifully rendered "Just a Moment," which contains some pretty nifty ballad playing by saxophonist Vigrito and a muted Bosso. It is very reminiscent of Miles Davis and John Coltrane playing Gil Evans' arrangement of Monk's "'Round About Midnight." Gratefully, Vigrito is much more Sonny Rollins/Dexter Gordon than Coltrane.
These pieces are just the beginning of nine finely crafted originals and standards (a punchy Steve Swallow "Running" and Benny Golson's "I Remember Clifford") that make up Faces. This quintet can only be compared to a Lee Morgan?Wayne Shorter Jazz Messengers. The writing is bright, organic and complex but never so much so as to make the music inaccessible. Pianist Nastro?s "Triton" is the "Ah-Lue-Cha" of 2004 while bassist Scannapeico's "Sad Day" could be this year's "Pursuance." The band's take on Benny Golson?s "I Remember Clifford" is carefully rendered with an extended opening by Nastro supported by Tranchini's caressing brush work. This is a sublime trio performance offering all performers plenty of room.
I am so glad to hear from Red Records. Mille Grazie Signore Sergio Veschi!