This group has a nucleus of students from the Cosenzo Conservatory (bass, piano, drums) and their teacher, Pisani, who won a national competition in Rome in 2015. Pisani himself was in the recent Dino Masa Quartet recording (reviewed on JazzViews: http://www.jazzviews.net/dino-massa-quartet---suite-pour-le-piano-for-jazz-quartet.html).
Godard, one of the world’s best exponents of tuba playing in jazz, was guest of honour at the competition and joined the group on their recording sessions. The ensemble also expanded to include brass and voice, and there are some wonderful sounds produced by this mixture. In particular, Gagliardi’s (often wordless) singing blends with the various brass instruments to produce a mixture that renders the horns human-like and the human voice another instrument in the tunes. This creates a well-balanced tension in the music and introduces sound qualities that differentiate this unit from other large ensembles. There are ten tracks on the CD and these divide (according to the liner notes) into 3 suites in which the ensemble works in smaller and larger units.
There is a variety of musical styles in the compositions, although the dominant ones are a nice line in hard bop and variations of tango and other Latin rhythms. Uniformly the playing is of a high standard, with some marvellous bass playing and great work on piano and drums. The solo work of the various brass instruments also glows. What is particularly impressive in this set is the fact that, of the 10 pieces on this set, half are from the students (or, one imagines, recent graduates), while Pisani and Godard share the duties of the other pieces. The complexity, imagination and verve of the tunes composed by the youngsters set the bar high (and one should acknowledge that their elders match them in quality and energy). This is an inspiring and inspirational set of tunes.
Reviewed by Chris Baber
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