There is no denying Manusardi's reputation as one of Europe's finest mainstream jazz pianists and someone who seems to have absorbed decades of jazz styles. This recording captures the great pianist live at the Jazz Spot, a club in Hollywood, CA, many miles from his native Italy. With Trevor Ware and Billy Higgins (on possibly his last recording date) at his side, Manusardi weaves through several of his own attractively snaky compositions, along with Johnny Raducano's "Tandarica" and Cole Porter's "I Love You," on both of which Manusardi shows remarkable dexterity and emotional strength. The Americans are a good match for the pianist, stimulating and nudging him, almost like a rider prodding a horse. Manusardi suffers the fate of other unsung yet highly talented pianists: He is not as well-known as his talent might dictate, perhaps due to a quiet, even modest command of the medium. This album is typical of his output, though a tad more conservative: It reflects a master at work in a near-perfect blend of tunefulness and technical finesse, vigorously delighting with a visual artist's eye for detail. There are no gimmicks, games, or tricks: only good old-fashioned, solid improvising, anchored in a swinging beat. Manusardi shares space generously with Ware and Higgins, and the two show a particular élan on the splendidly upbeat "Tanderica," with highly individual contributions.
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