222

Gianluca Petrella: Indigo4

By

Sign in to view read count
Gianluca Petrella: Indigo4 Trombonist Gianluca Petrella's got impeccable credentials, having played with heavyweights like Carla Bley, Steve Swallow, Greg Osby, Flavio Boltro and Enrico Rava. His often electronically enhanced trombone sound is unique to the point of making him immediately recognizable. To his credit, he's interested in moving jazz forward by incorporating modern elements into a European jazz context with an emphasis on melodic, emotionally physical communication.

Indigo4 is a quartet set featuring Petrella, tenor man/clarinetist Francesco Bearzatti, drummer Fabio Accardi and bassist Paolino Della Porta. This collection mingles Petrella originals with treatments of Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk and Tony Williams songs and is very much a studio creation in which Petrella doctors live performances with electronic cutups, drum loops and samples. There's a rich depth of sound that's both thickly realistic (as evidenced throughout by bassist Della Porta's thick, meaty bass and audible exhalations) and dreamily artificial (as heard in the swimming laptop effects that saturate "Two in a Hole ).

So Indigo4 is ambitious. It's modern. It's also pretty bad. At its worst ("Trinkle Tinkle ) it's downright abrasive; at its best ("Sacred Whale ) it's compositionally half-baked and harmonically dull—music seemingly designed for designer-cocktail clubs and fatuous boutiques.

Petrella's take on Monk's "Trinkle Tinkle starts the CD off in the worst way possible—a monotonous two-note sample of the composer's own recorded piano is inserted into a rhythmically plodding soundscape in which Bearzatti's tenor and Petrella's trombone reduce the composition to a static repetition of the head that's only enlivened by sharp electronic chop-ups of the performance. It's not that it's blasphemous to drag Monk into the proceedings—it's just annoying and, if anything, outdated: strictly 1988.

"Lazy Moon, a mostly-live group performance (echo-laden electronic percussion ping-pongs occasionally around the stereo field) is marginally better, but it's deathly dull—trombone and tenor play smoky, bluesy nothings over an unvarying Accardi groove pattern. While the leader's spooky, repeated-loop lines over Della Porta's fat bass do produce a certain hypnosis on the part of the listener, the piece goes on for seven very noticeable, watch-checking minutes.

"The Middleman is built around a skittering electronica beat played live by Accardi that's impeccably executed, but again, cornily outdated—think 1996 drum 'n' bass. Doubled, electronified Petrellas ooze and warble around the drum pattern and while the song's admirably brief at two minutes, there's a pleased-with-itself quality here that's not particularly charming.

Tony Williams' "There Comes a Time is pretty good, though. Here, Accardi's adamant, dumbed-down snare blends winningly with Della Porta's busy lines before the drummer breaks free with charging, brisk rolls as Petrella and Bearzatti play thrilling, dynamic—and refreshingly emotional—lines, sometimes contrapuntally.

But there's not enough of the stuff that pours out of "There Comes a Time, and a listener sitting through Indigo4 is reminded of the grandson's classic line from Rob Reiner's film The Princess Bride: "when's it get good? Electronics are great for jazz, and there are plenty of musicians using them imaginatively, but that's not happening here.

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; Francesco Bearzatti: tenor saxophone, clarinet; Dalla Porta: bass; Francesco Accardi: drums.

Title: Indigo4 | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Blue Note Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Screen Sounds CD/LP/Track Review Screen Sounds
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 20, 2017
Read Rediscovered Ellington CD/LP/Track Review Rediscovered Ellington
by Troy Dostert
Published: August 20, 2017
Read The Bug CD/LP/Track Review The Bug
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 20, 2017
Read Sing Me Some Cry CD/LP/Track Review Sing Me Some Cry
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 20, 2017
Read Masters In Bordeaux CD/LP/Track Review Masters In Bordeaux
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 19, 2017
Read On Parade In Parede CD/LP/Track Review On Parade In Parede
by John Sharpe
Published: August 19, 2017
Read "Albert Mangelsdorff And His Friends" CD/LP/Track Review Albert Mangelsdorff And His Friends
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 16, 2017
Read "Thank You For Coming To Life" CD/LP/Track Review Thank You For Coming To Life
by Roger Farbey
Published: April 2, 2017
Read "My Picture" CD/LP/Track Review My Picture
by Mark Sullivan
Published: August 13, 2017
Read "Musical Journey Through Time" CD/LP/Track Review Musical Journey Through Time
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 29, 2017
Read "Planet" CD/LP/Track Review Planet
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 28, 2016
Read "Closer To The Sun" CD/LP/Track Review Closer To The Sun
by Mark Corroto
Published: September 10, 2016

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.