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Italian Drummer/percussionist and here composer and leader of the date simply titled Images, Roberto Dani is no stranger to these American shores while currently touring with New York City based pianist Mika Pohjola and previous stints with Lee Konitz, Tim Berne and others. With this release Dani teams with renowned British vocalist Norma Winstone along with cellist Henning Sieverts, and pianist Glauco Venier.
Dani’s premise for this lovely set of musical tone poems is based upon his thoughts, emotions and of course the visual component as the drummer states in the liners..”I like to think of myself as a filter between what I see and what you hear”. Therefore, the musicians are not unlike all of us, yet in true artistic representation, they utilize their instruments as the medium for expounding or correlating these aural vistas, and combined with Ms. Winstone’s lush, wordless vocals – the band succeeds in glistening fashion! On pieces such as “Montagne” we encounter Ms Winstone stating the melodies as if she were living a dream or fantasy via soft, tender incantations iterated in some sort of illusory demeanor. Throughout these 17 pieces of which several are completely improvised, the band pursues slight shifts in tempo and delicate yet fertile sonic soundscapes as the musicians often trade vibrant motifs and notions in an often-jubilant manner.
A series of melodic vignettes, the music is at times blissful or hallucinatory. On “Marzo” and other tracks, Dani not only firms up the rhythms but also provides tonal shades and crisp accents via deft utilization of tiny percussion instruments while pianist Glauco Venier institutes swirling chord clusters and lush harmonics on the piece titled, “Ricordi”. Cellist Henning Sieverts provides the virtual bridges and underlying themes that often compliment Ms. Winstone’s airy yet multi-octave approach whereas, “Running” boasts a Bill Evans-ish vibe thanks to Venier’s fluid right hand leads, sweeping arpeggios and delicate utilization of harmonics.
Overall, Images is an extremely appeasing effort and one that should spark or invoke the imagination of all who listen as Dani dispels any inferences or suggestions that drummer/percussionists are simply time-keepers. Here, the drummer puts those misbegotten notions to rest with this fine new release! Highly recommended - * * * * 1/2