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Fabio Morgera: Neapolitan Heart

C. Michael Bailey By

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Trumpeter/producer Fabio Morgera's first album release was Take One (Red Records) in 1988. Hailing from Naples and in 2010 a New York City resident, Morgera recorded several notable collections in the 1990s and 2000s. As a leader Slick (Red Records, 1999) and Colors (Red Records, 2002); as a sideman J.D. Allen's In Search Of (Red Records, 1999); and with the Red Stars collective Red Stars (Red Records, 2004). Morgera also produced In Search Of and Pablo Bobrowicky's New York Connections (Red Records, 2005).

Employing a nominal septet, Morgera produces less of a "little big band" sound and more of a dense collaboration. This is illustrated on the diffuse tonal introduction to "Canzone Appassiunata" which straightens out into a tight urban head with a decidedly European flavor. "Reginella" is a moody, lopping piece with Morgera muted and pianist Craig Hartley and vibraphonist Christos Rafalides demonstrating a gentle simpatico in splendid support of the trumpeter. Rafalides' tone is tart and close and his playing expressive and romantic. Hartley takes a harder edge in his solo, his right hand seeking a quiet consonance while his left holds the line. And so the rest of the recital goes: intelligent, warm, and inviting.

Morgera has methodically and thoughtfully built a solid jazz career that has led to Neapolitan Heart, his most cosmopolitan recording. He draws from his native Italy those elements that often infuse the Latin tinge. Strite and complex percussion, descending stair arpeggios and humid dance rhythms populate the faster pieces while Morgera's plaintive flugelhorn and Rafalides' vibraphone all but consort on the ballads (the closing "Luntane" is a good example).



Morgera's focus is tight and clear on Neapolitan Heart, and the album is enhanced by his considerable production talent and his wispy melodic sense.


Track Listing: O Paese d'o Sole; Canzone Appassiunata; Reginella; Vomero; Tu Ca Nun Chiagne; Vesuvius; Na Sera e Maggio; Caruso; Funiculi Funicula; Luntane.

Personnel: Fabio Morgera: trumpet, flugelhorn; Stacy Dillard: tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone; Gary Valente: trombone; Jason Jackson: trombone; Christos Rafalides: vibraphone; Craig Hartley: piano; Gregg August: double bass; Gianluca Renzi: double bass; Enoch Jamal Strickland: drums.

Title: Neapolitan Heart | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: EmArcy

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