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Gagliardi/Albrigtsen/Thornton/Thorén: The Trip

Don Phipps By

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Those who like a cup of coffee or tea on a chilly morning will appreciate the warmth provided by the album, The Trip. There is a great deal of happiness in this music, and it bubbles and percolates like a champagne toast on the Tyrrhenian Sea.

The performing quartet, comprised of saxophonist Gianni Gagliardi, guitarist Odd Albrigtsen, bassist Tim Thornton, and drummer Anders Thorén, initially met in Oslo, but, according to the liner notes, the music concerns a sojourn to Rome—a city whose great beauty and history has provided inspiration to countless artists. Six of the numbers were composed by Albrigtsen while the remaining two ("Morena" and Manacudo Man") were composed by Gagliardi.

The album kicks off with Albrigtsen's sprightly "Respire," a piece that suggests adventure, anticipation, and flying on a blue-sky day over snow covered mountain ranges to some special destination. On his solo, Gagliardi squeezes off the reed a bit for emphasis while Albrigtsen centers on blues chords. The soulful playing continues on "Morena," a song that feels like a warm afternoon gathering on the Spanish Steps.

"Manacudo Man" is a bit more adventurous, like cruising down a freeway. Thoren offers a wind-swept emphasis on drums while Gagliardi plays in unison with Thornton, whose bass presence throughout the album is both light and precise. "Captain Kirk" features Thoren's brush work as Thornton walks the bass. The gentle bop is enhanced by Albrigtsen's bright and charming guitar solo. Other numbers are sweet ballads—"Captain Kirk," "Winter," and "The Old Piano And The Sea," the latter offering soft hues on a sunset palette as Albrigtsen picks his way through a graceful solo.

The effervescent "McCoy" has a head-nodding dance vibe. Gagliardi's sax lines sway above the music and his solo has a slight boisterous quality about it. Thoren again uses well thought-out brush work to propel the piece forward. And Albrigtsen, when he is not playing offbeat chords, offers a solo of short runs that suggests a cyclist coasting down a Pyrenees mountain road. On "Spira," the bass, guitar and sax lines all play a role in establishing the musical theme, and Albrigtsen's solo finds all the right spots. The song feels like a winding country road—a cruise through Tuscany perhaps?

The music on The Trip is open and loose, and, at times, seems to float on air. Happy, buoyant, and charming, this is a journey that should not be missed.

Track Listing: Respire; Morena; Macanudo Man; Captain Kirk; Winter; The Old Piano And The Sea; McCoy; Spira.

Personnel: Gianni Gagliardi: tenor saxophone; Odd Albrigtsen: guitar; Tim Thornton: bass; Anders Thoren: drums.

Title: The Trip | Year Released: 2019 | Record Label: Amp Music & Records

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