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Negroni's Trio: On The Way

Hrayr Attarian By

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Pianist Jose Negroni and his son, drummer Nomar Negroni, showcase their cross-genre versatility on On The Way—its unifying theme, a mélange of European melodic motifs and Latin romanticism, giving cohesion to this, their seventh release.

"Matices" opens with José Negroni's harp-like flowing lines, dramatically echoing in the silent pauses. It evolves into a tender ballad with western classical influences almost like a belle époque French mélodie. Negroni's passionate piano and master saxophonist Ed Calle's intense soprano weave, intimate and intelligent improvisations around the tune.

Calle's bittersweet saxophone wails passionately on "Looking For You," over José Negroni's fugue-like piano acrobatics. Nomar Negroni's fervent, angular drumming drives this cinematic track that is marked by Calle's emotional and intense solo. Nomar Negroni provides a tango-ish beat to Italian pianist/singer Bruno Martino's mysterious and enchanting, ardent and lyrical "Estaté," which also features a gently lilting serenade from double-bassist Josh Allen.

Allen's complex and spontaneous bursts of resonant bass tones form the rhythmic core of his lush and mellifluous original "Dancing Bass." Here, also, Calle shines as his melancholic and ardent sax blows bittersweet over José Negroni's undulating keys. The trio's Spanish-tinged vamps on "Blue Forest" construct tight sonic landscapes with plenty of clever group interplay. The up-tempo yet elegiac piece showcases the uncanny camaraderie of these three musicians, as they anticipate and play off each others' spur-of-the-moment ideas.

This exhilarating live set closes with "Retrospection," a nod to Tzigane music. José Negroni engages another guest, Federico Britos—the virtuosic Uruguayan violinist who has delightfully bridged the divide between jazz and classical music throughout his career—in a theatrical duet, his Debussy-esque pianism shimmering against Britos' wistfully fluent arco.

Accessible in its euphony and stimulating in its harmonic intricacy, Negroni's Trio once more proves that improvised music can be simultaneously intellectually satisfying and aurally pleasing.

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