There's a good reason most "real" jazz radio stations tend to favor the modern mainstream jazz of the post-bop era codified by such record labels from the mid-20th Century as Blue Note, Columbia's jazz division, Prestige, Riverside and Impulse. It's creative jazz with a comfortingly substantial physicality, clean lines and rhythmic heft still anchored to a swing feel. The excellent Italian jazz pianist Antonio Ciacca is firmly in that modern mainstream, the music here from a quintet, quartet and trio mining the listener's familiarity with what is heard as the standard on jazz radio.
Pianist Antonio Ciacca, who has been Director of Programming for Jazz at Lincoln Center since 2007, uses this CD as a feature showcase for tenor saxophonist Steve Grossman, with whom he worked in Italy in the '90s. Grossman was in the Miles DavisBitches Brew-era band (1969-71) and with Elvin Jones in the 1970s and he's joined here on the three quintet tracks by fellow tenor saxophonist Stacy Dillard, bassist Kengo Nakamura and drummer Ulysses Owens rounding out the hard bop hefty rhythm section. Grossman and Dillard complement each other, sharing a muscular approach but nicely differing improvisational strategies.
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