You cannot quite put a finger on Simone Guiducci's Chorale, and perhaps that is to its advantage. It is not quite Klezmer, though the influences are there. Neither is it Italian folk, though again there is some of that too. It is not mainstream jazz, either, though there are some pithy improvisations and finely syncopated rhythms. You can even hear elements of classical music, particularly from the strings. The ensemble is not as large as it might appear at first. The core unit is a quintet, with the highly expressive Achille Succi playing the only wind instrument. For one or two tracks each, leader Simone Guiducci adds some leading lights who add considerably to the sound. Ralph Alessi, though he only appears on a couple of tracks, cuts a suave figure on "Gramelot in 6/8" and "Chorale," while the three clarinetists, including Chris Speed, add to the level of virtuosity. Many of the tunes reflect a lovely, lilting quality that gives forth an expressive, laid-back aura. Guiducci's guitar, in particular, evinces a nocturnal ambience; a gentle though serious touch that seems to float delicately on high. The diverse emotional mix ranges from slow, calm waters to invigorating fare. Especially impressive is Achille Succi, who makes a difference with his focused tones. If sometimes there is a sense that a song is floundering under its own weight (for example on "The after hours,") others pick up the slack, and the overall impression is one of a finely oiled unit that boldly performs its own eclectic mix of ethnic harmonies, rhythms, and melodies.
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AllMusic Review by Steve Loewy