Alberto D'Anna


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Drummer Alberto D'Anna is featured here in quartet and quintet settings (except for one dreadful solo drum track) comprised of half Monk tunes (this is Italian jazz after all), a few originals, and one by alto saxophonist Sandro Satta. Employing the unusual instrumentation of electric guitar, baritone saxophone, and a pianoless rhythm section (and adding an alto on certain cuts), D'Anna had the unique opportunity of bringing something to Monk that had not been heard before -- at least texturally. Sadly, that doesn't happen. There isn't anything wrong with his readings of the tunes -- "In Walked Bud," "I Mean You," "Bemsha Swing," and "Evidence" -- but there isn't anything right either. They are played journeyman-like and competently, but there is nothing that makes the listener take notice of what is being heard except that they are indeed Monk's melodies. What is most condemning about them is how generically pleasant they are, though they are technically flawless. Of D'Anna's originals, the focus seems to be on instrumental music rather than on any cohesiveness on the part of the band. There are plenty of fine individual flourishes here, but nothing in the way of melodic invention, harmonic innovation, or even contrapuntal statement to engage one past the first two or three minutes of any tune here. It's just too bad such talent was not utilized to better facility. The Italians are usually so fiery, deft, humorous, and passionate in their outings -- particularly when their patron saint (Monk) is performed. But this date lacks all of those things, despite its excellent musicianship.

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