Mario Schiano

Supposing That

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Recorded live at the Controindicazioni 15 festival in Italy, this version of Mario Schiano's quartet gently weaves a tapestry of abstractions in a fashion characteristic of the saxophonist's style. The main difference here is his sidemen, particularly the pianist, Luca Venitucci, who add an individualistic stamp. Through the years, and after releasing dozens of recordings under his name, the now-legendary Schiano has built a reputation as a unique performer whose solos incorporate quotations from popular songs, energetic spurts of clusters of notes, a semi-sour tone, and a generally primitive concept. When backed by a rhythm trio of the caliber of this one, the results challenge and impress, with an encyclopedic range of tools. For example, the mesmerizing and totally accessible "Part Three" opens with a riff more characteristic of 1950s bop than anything, but the individual improvisations, including the saxophonist's, veer outside. Venitucci pounds on the piano keys, in contrast to Schiano's more mellow approach, after which the pianist shifts to accordion in duo with Giovanni Maier on bass, and the saxophonist returns to form. On the short closer, "Part Four," Schiano's fluttering soprano rides above the waves of the intense rhythm, eventually landing in spasms, with the tempo slowly decelerating. While this is not Schiano's most impressive effort on disc, it is nonetheless a fine recording with consistently good playing.