Carlo Actis Dato

Folklore Imaginario

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Imaginary folklore or not, this is a beautiful collaboration between Italian reedman Carlo Actis Dato and Spanish bass player Baldo Martinez. Folklore Imaginario focuses on compositions that mix jazz with a touch of unabashed feeling that can pass as a distillate of traditional music -- something in the simplicity of the melodies, in their immediacy. Martinez's playing has the lightness of touch and the whimsicality required to match Dato's exuberance. And exuberant he is, here as anywhere else. He sticks to the baritone sax and the bass clarinet, making this project a low-register endeavor. He delivers heartfelt melodies and steps out the moment he can extend a note or throw in a solo. The writing credits for the eight pieces included are split equally. Dato's tunes tend to be more boisterous, with "Compay Segundo" and "Luna Park" standing out as particularly fun and complex. Martinez's "Vejo Elmer" provides a contrasting ballad, while his "Festa" and "Sospeita" match the Italian's compositions in playfulness and offer some of the most memorable themes of the album. For the last piece, "Mandingo," the duo goes for something different, electrifying the bass during the rubato exposition of the theme, before the music breaks out into a typically cheerful Dato vamp. This CD is a no-brainer for fans of the man and a good pick for the occasional listener.

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