Pianist Alessandro D'Episcopo brings in the balmy air of the Mediterranean, a heady bit of Neapolitan melody, Arabian music and four tunes from one of his favorite composers, Thelonious Monk. They all sit well together and magenetise the listener on the aptly titled Meraviglioso, which translates to "wonderful.
D'Episcopo's music is inventive and his playing adventurous, with ideas that bristle and throb. "The Run is a percussive delight as he sets a repetitive phrase that has the melodic riff wriggling in between the galloping chords. When the music gets more pronounced, he draws back the tempo while the chords get more intense. It is, quite simply, a tour de force.
D'Episcopo is at ease with the Monk tunes. "Eronel gets a moderate swing and a scintillating run of invention. The trio is deep in the groove with Hämi Hämmerli (double bass) and Elmar Frey (drums) weaving a tight rhythm. The other Monk tunes are well read and opened up to be savored all over again.
Meraviglioso is a ballad that is built gradually. Each note is well-invested by D'Episcopo as he weaves the texture with a pronounced air before he takes flight. As he pulls back and settles down once more into the original pulse, he has stamped his harmonic concepts indelibly.
Latin Pendulum is another impressive outing. It is a slam bang happy tune with D'Episcopo revisiting the catchy melody and immersing his improvisation in its headiness. Hämmerli and Frey keep the base tight, the former punchy, the latter spry. The chemistry between them is as it should be; to give any music its particular emotion.
Latin Pendulum: In Walked Bud; Passione; Spaccanapoli; Canto Delle Lavandaie Del Vomer; The Run; Eronel; Silver Morning; Rhythm-A-Ning; Meraviglioso; Ugly Beauty.