250

Walter Beltrami: Piccoli Numeri

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Walter Beltrami: Piccoli Numeri Despite a long career and lengthy discography, it's always been curious that John Abercrombie has been a less influential guitarist than peers like Pat Metheny, John Scofield and Bill Frisell. With an instantly recognizable approach as fluid and adaptable as that of any guitarist alive today, it might seem that Abercrombie's impact has been more felt than heard. Walter Beltrami is a rare occurrence—a guitarist who, if any single artist can be cited as a stylistic reference, is undeniably linked to Abercrombie. That said, Piccoli Numeri possesses more than enough personality to make Beltrami's roots in Abercrombie just that: roots that are influential rather than directly imitated.

Beltrami possesses a similar innate lyricism, warm tone and sophisticated sense of harmony, and a comparable penchant for quiet introspection. Much of Piccoli Numeri is gentle and down-tempo, with an attention to space and clarity not unlike the transparency of Abercrombie's label for over thirty years, ECM. Still, like Abercrombie, Beltrami can heat things up as he does on "Verbal Realities, adopting a distorted tone and more aggressive stance supported by bassist Roberto Bordiga and drummer Emanuele Maniscalco, who are as elastic and dynamic as Marc Johnson and Joey Baron in Abercrombie's current group on the superb The Third Quartet (ECM, 2007).

"The Letter, one of ten Beltrami originals (the eleventh tune, "Table Lamp, is a collective improvisation), begins as a melancholy rubato piece for the trio; but the guitarist then goes it alone, using looping to create a guitar chamber orchestra, with an underlying pattern of accompaniment that acts as a foundation for multiple melodies masterfully and seamlessly looped. Harkening back, aesthetically, to Abercrombie's Characters (ECM, 1978), it's a tour-de-force of invention that pushes the concept of studio overdubbing into the present by being created in real time.

Despite the pensive and often rubato nature of the disc—or with time so elastic that it feels that way—there's plenty of variety. There's no dearth of harmonic movement, with one of Piccoli Numeri's defining characteristics being Beltrami's sense of melody; so unique as to be both unpredictable and eminently singable. The trio moves as a single voice throughout, waxing and waning dynamically with the kind of freedom that might be abstruse, if it weren't for the strong focus and thematic content of Beltrami's writing and the trio's strong chemistry.

It's the kind of simpatico playing that only comes from working together regularly. Piccoli Numeri may be a new discovery—through its international availability on the Italian Cam Jazz label—but this trio has been together since 2003, with one other disc to its credit. Still, for all intents and purposes, Piccoli Numeri is Beltrami's debut on a larger scale and, in its compelling mix of elegant freedom, rich composition and group interaction, is one that augurs very well for a guitarist and trio well worth watching.


Track Listing: Blind Dancers; Tormento; Preghiera; Ordet; You See; Verbal Realities; Table Lamp; Ingmar; I Knew We Would Meet; Piccoli Numeri; The Letter.

Personnel: Walter Beltrami: guitar; Roberto Bordiga: bass; Emanuele Maniscalco: drums.

Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: CAM Jazz | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark CD/LP/Track Review The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Les Deux Versants Se Regardent CD/LP/Track Review Les Deux Versants Se Regardent
by John Sharpe
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Molto Bene CD/LP/Track Review Molto Bene
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read "Lingo" CD/LP/Track Review Lingo
by Paul Rauch
Published: January 10, 2017
Read "Just for Fun" CD/LP/Track Review Just for Fun
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 26, 2016
Read "More Than Meets The Ear" CD/LP/Track Review More Than Meets The Ear
by Troy Collins
Published: February 25, 2016
Read "Ed Calle 360" CD/LP/Track Review Ed Calle 360
by Edward Blanco
Published: July 17, 2016
Read "Tiptoe" CD/LP/Track Review Tiptoe
by Jerome Wilson
Published: December 1, 2016
Read "Persuasion" CD/LP/Track Review Persuasion
by Jeff Winbush
Published: December 24, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!