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Enten Eller & Tim Berne (Splasc: Melquiades

Glenn Astarita By

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With this 1999 release titled Melquiades, American alto sax hero Tim Berne unites with the Italian quartet, “Enten Eller” for a truly diverse mix of compositions that span soulful balladry such as the enticing opener, “Mostar” and blazing razor sharp soloing and rapid swing on “7/13”. Trumpeter Alberto Mandarini and guitarist Maurizio Brunod are near perfect foils for Berne’s mighty and at times scathing horn work as bassist Giovanni Maier injects solid, pumping bass lines and grinding, steely edged arco-bass along with drummer Massimo Barbiero’s flexible yet often driving rhythms. The group composition, “Kubrik (2)” boasts an avante-rock/jazz motif as the rhythm section wreaks a little havoc while Berne and Mandarini trade rousing fours. Whereas “Kubrik (1)” denotes a boisterous improv fest atop Brunod’s oscillating notes and shifting rhythms as the band instills a heightened sense of drama along with subliminal doses of humor and pathos.

Giovanni Maier establishes an ostinato for the soloists on “Sud” as Berne and Mandarini solo with such passion and fire, you’d swear they were possessed by spirits. Here, radiant lyricism, burgeoning rhythmic developments and Brunod’s haunting electric guitar lines provide the lucid imagery and rich textures. Overall, “Melquiades” delivers the knockout blow in stunning fashion! Highly recommended. (Outstanding audio quality!!!!)

* * * * ½ (out of * * * * *)

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