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Roberto Gatto: Traps

Elliott Simon By

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Roberto Gatto: Traps Drummer Roberto Gatto's quartet pleasingly ensnares a range of contrasting musical quarry without falling into the Traps of pretense and mimicry. Within his strong framework of compositional eloquence and musical economy, Gatto draws on Monk, Latin, Kurt Weill and assorted other influences for a relaxing yet highly expressive program. Gatto is a stalwart in an Italian jazz scene that has matured over the last several decades into a wellspring of creative instrumentalists across a variety of jazz subgenres. Though Gatto is most associated with trumpeter Enrico Rava, with whom the drummer has been recording in different groups since 1999, this release highlights players who are among the finest in the current generation of Italian jazz musicians.

Most impressive is pianist Luca Mannutza who displays a mature grasp of the less-is-more ethos that comes across from his first almost toy-like intro to opener "The Hands. Saxophonist Daniele Tittarelli likewise lingers long enough on each line, allowing the subtlety of his expressive tone to shine through. In the main, these are quite delicate pieces that go down very easy with a soothing rhythm section that combines Gatto's master cymbal work with bassist Luca Bulgarelli's near-perfect touch.

What delights most about Traps, however, is its ability to convey the more difficult emotions: the quiet pathos of "Whispering, so beautifully portrayed by Bulgarelli's touch; the off centered quirkiness of the title cut, depicted by Gatto's Monk-like drum work and by Mannutza on the aptly named "Monkish ; and the sweetly sarcastic soprano sax lines found in an interpretation of Kurt Weill's "Was Zahlen Sie (the only piece on the album not written by Gatto, an accomplished composer). All of the above is then turned slightly askew by the overtly bop-ish "Catch the Drums. An appealing statement from a major international artist.


Track Listing: The Hands; Whispering; Traps; Octagonal; Monkish; North; A Night in Salzau; Was Zahlen Sie (extract from Der Silbersee); Flow; Catch the Drums.

Personnel: Roberto Gatto: drums; Daniele Tittarelli: alto and soprano saxophones; Luca Mannutza: piano; Luca Bulgarelli: double bass; Umberto Fiorentino: electric guitar (2); Marco Bonni: electric guitar (4).

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


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