A call to order from trumpeter Kyle Gregory announces the forced march through rugged terrain by multi-reed player Alberto Pinton and his quartet Clear Now. Recorded in concert in Italy, these two strong personalities focus on intertwining their horns around Pinton’s 14 short but dynamic compositions. Bassist Salvatore Maiore and drummer Roberto Dani spur the drive through these titles that make potent statements from both composed and improvised standpoints. A military flare exists in much of the music, promoted by the aggressive and forthright way the musicians tackle the songs with assertive phrasing and bold execution.
Pinton makes deep proclamations on baritone saxophone to hold down the bottom end in union with the dense bass tones flowing from Maiore – or he may switch to bass clarinet in establishing a comparable full-bodied posture. The tonal character typically becomes one of contrasts as Gregory spouts mightily through his open, bright, and ultra-clear trumpet range. For a break in the combative action, Pinton takes wing with more fluid expressions on his baritone solo venture “Variation on a Ballad Theme,” which in turn flows gracefully into the full quartet’s mellowing stroll on “One of a Kind.” This type of break in the developments is a diversionary tactic that keeps the music off- balance; then it is back to the battlefield for more offensive action.
The marshaled cadence from Dani forms an invigorating backdrop for the two horn players to charge forward. Dani sets up measured percussive steps through which the pace of the music is ultimately controlled. When General Pinton signals a battlefield break, Dani uses soothing rhythms to calm the militants, but he systematically reverts to the source of motivation required on many of the tunes. Maiore takes a freelance approach with his bass playing. He scurries over the neck with ultra-fast fingering as the action heats up, or he tones down the pace on the interspersed quieter selections while continually making vital contributions to the war effort.
The music effectively moves as a continuous suite through numerous altercations and mood alterations, with the ultimate result being a subdued claim to victory. From muscular start to toned- down end, Pinton maneuvers his forces to win the battle and then establish the peace with diplomatic statements on flute and clarinet. The recording effectively takes one through all the front line stages and culminates the action with an expression of gentleness and an extension of an olive branch.
This program is full of character, and Pinton’s cohorts muster full support for his campaign. Pinton assumes a commanding presence on all four reeds, making the session gel as a complete package that balances composing and improvising as one art form.