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Indigo4 is one enjoyable morsel drawn from what has become a very broad Italian jazz landscape. Trombonist Gianluca Petrella, who routinely plays with trumpeter Enrico Rava's internationally known band, has assembled a quartet that includes bassist Paolino Dalla Porta, the young and sizzling drummer Fabio Accardi, reedman Francesco Bearzatti, and the judicious use of what amounts to a fifth member: live electronics and samples. The result is a creative excursion through Monk, Ellington and original pieces.
Whatever label you want to apply to Indigo4, it must reflect the bright quirkiness with which Petrella infuses each of these tracks. Among the features that unite to make this a fun-filled session are quick tempo changes that both Dalla Porta and Accardi effortlessly fire off, a use of electronics that doesn't overshadow the acoustic playing, and the synergy between Petrella's t-bone and Bearzatti's reeds.
Smack dab in the middle is Ellington's "Mood Indigo, which begins free, with barely a waft of the original, until a tempo change allows the melody to break through. Petrella's trombone is deliciously vocal and Bearzatti is a wild man on clarinet, turning this classic inside out.
The originals are most daring and range from "The Middleman, an electrified trombone/drum duet, to the soulful bone/tenor exploration of "Sacred Whale and the superbly bass-led opus "Stockholm 64. Monk is reborn through a remix treatment of his "Trinkle, Tinkle," Duke's "I Got it Bad is morphed into a bass/bone tease, and things close out as all go in search of Sun Ra, finding him surprisingly in "A Relaxing Place on Venus.
Track Listing: Trinkle, Tinkle; The Middleman; Lazy Moon; Mr. Wolf; Sacred Whale; I Got It Bad; Mood Indigo; Two In A Hole; There Comes A Time; Stockholm 64; I.S.T.R.; A Relaxing Place On Venus.
Personnel: Gianluca Petrella: trombone, live electronics, samples; Francesco Bearzatti: tenor sax, clarinet; Paolino Dalla Porta: bass; Fabio Accardi: drums.
As a kid, my mom told me I'd like jazz. I thought she was nuts. Then I went to hear Cannonball Adderley (with Nat Adderley, George Duke, Walter Booker, Roy McCurdy and Airto) and everything changed. Yeah, mom knows best.