Mostly sticking here to background work, acoustic rhythm guitarist Lino Patruno leads a group of fellow Italians through a blues and nine well-known standards on this fun, if not essential CD. None of the other musicians (trumpeter Guido Pistocchi, trombonist Alberto Collatina, clarinetist Gianni Sanust, tenor saxophonist Bruno Longhi, baritonist Carlo Bagnoli, pianist Romano Mussolini, bassist Carlo Loffredo and drummer Gil Cuppini) ever gained much fame outside of their native country. Romano Mussolini, a decent chordal player, is the son of the infamous dictator and has therefore kept a relatively low profile throughout his life; his family situation has probably not helped his career much. The best moments on this release are when the five horns all join together on some rollicking ensembles, most notably during parts of "Rosetta," "The Sheik of Araby" and the loose ad-lib "RSM Blues." Generally, the solos are short, with baritonist Bagnoli's contributions (a little reminiscent of Ernie Caceres) giving the band a slightly unique sound. About halfway through the CD, the music becomes more modern, shifting from Dixieland to mainstream and even bits of bop. Mussolini is showcased on "Begin the Beguine" (showing off the influence of Oscar Peterson); guest clarinetist Hengel Gualdi on "Stardust" looks toward both Abe Most and Buddy DeFranco; "Autumn Leaves" has some fine scatting and singing from Laura Fedele, while Nicola Arigliano's vocalizing on "My Funny Valentine" (which he interprets in English) is somewhat forgettable. For Thelonious Monk's "'Round Midnight," vibraphonist Enzo Randisi sits in and recalls Milt Jackson. Overall, some nice, if hard-to-find music.
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