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Steve Grover: Variations

Alberto Bazzurro By

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Sessant'anni, nativo del Maine, Steve Grover è qui alla testa del proprio quartetto (voce e piano trio), su cui s'innestano a turno i quattro fiati, generando cinque quintetti (senza la tromba e sempre con un solo sax) e sei sestetti (appunto con la tromba aggiunta a un unico sax alla volta). Il risultato è di una notevole compattezza e solidità, su pagine che come ci dicono i titoli girano per lo più attorno al tema dell'oscurità (ma anche del suo opposto, la luce) e assumono un tono qua e là vagamente monkiano (ciò fin dall'iniziale "Forever Interlude").

Tutto è di pugno del batterista e leader, che costruisce per i suoi compagni strutture solide e talora anche ben articolate quanto permeabili al contributo dell'estro individuale. Il terreno è quello di un mainstream appena risciacquato in acque più ambiziose, con note di merito per episodi quali "Illumination," in possesso di una felice vitalità (che del resto non fa difetto a diversi momenti dell'album), "Seeing This" e "In the Undivided Darknes," sorta di dittico di tratto elegante, con in evidenza rispettivamente tromba e voce, "As a Dark Star," l'episodio forse più originale, specie sul piano compositivo, e "Scales."

Nulla di particolarmente nuovo sotto il sole, quindi, ma un album comunque onesto, compatto e suonato con sicura padronanza della materia.

Track Listing: Forever Interlude; Darkness with Light; Let There Be Darkness; Illumination; Seeing This; In the Undivided Darkness; Space; As a Dark Star; As in Night; Scales; Interlude.

Personnel: Christine Correa: voce; Chris Klaxton: tromba; Duncan Hardy: sax (alto); Andrew Rathburn, George Garzone: sax (tenore); Frank Carlberg: pianoforte; Sean Farias: contrabbasso; Steve Grover: batteria.

Title: Variations | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Red Piano Records

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