Guitarist and composer Fabrizio Sotti dedicates his album Inner Dance to two jazz greats, guitarist Wes Montgomery and organist Jimmy Smith. He presents a wide range of compositions, mostly in a low-key, mellow mood. He plays both acoustic and amplified guitars, and his main collaborator here is Sam Barsh on Hammond B-3 organ; their interplay is impeccable.
With this record, the Italian-born Sotti comes back to jazz after an excursion the last few years into hip-hop, rock, and pop. During his hiatus, he was featured with big names such as Dead Prez, Q-Tip, Tupac Shakur, Jennifer Lopez, and Whitney Houston. His major success in this area was in 2006 when he produced Confidential for the artist M1, released on self-named Sotti Records. To be sure, though, his jazz credentials are in order. Since coming to the U.S. in the nineties, he has performed with the likes of Roy Hargrove, George Coleman, and Jeff "Tain" Watts.
On this release, Sotti shows great talent and technique on both amplified and acoustic guitars. He is particularly effective on the latter instrument, as revealed in the fetching ballad "Kindness In Your Eyes" and in the beautiful title track; his solos are displayed to maximum effect by Barsh's lush organ. As guest vocalist Claudia Acuna sings a sweetly soulful rendition of "Amancer," Sotti's sensitive string work is once again prominent.
While the selections throughout are creatively pleasing and eminently listenable, there is a sense of the music being too similar from one track to another. It would be good, for example, if his arrangements unleashed more power and "pulled out all the stops" occasionally on the basis of Barsh's organ. In "Last Chance," however, following Sotti's flurry of notes, Barsh does come on strong, pushed by Mino Cinelu's drums.
Murphy's Law almost doomed this recording. Sotti began this project in February 2009. After recording the basic trio tracks and Acuna's vocal, his hard drive crashed, and he lost it all. "The tech company that tried to salvage my data," he explained, "told me that this kind of complete erasure only happens once in every 10,000 times a computer crashes." He was frustrated but quickly decided to press on and re-record, despite the difficulty of scheduling new sessions with busy musicians.
Blue Whisper; Kindness In Your Eyes; Inner Dance; I Thought So; Amancer; Brief Talk; Last Chance; Mr. T.M.; We Are What We Are.