Jazzinaria Quartet

Grazie Dei Fior

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Here's something you don't hear everyday: an Italian jazz quartet fronted by a vocalist, singing in Italian, with a program of compositions by their countrymen without a Yankee jazz standard in the bunch. It gets high marks for this already, but the performance here is more than fine -- it is remarkable for its high swing quotient, it's deft musicality, and its inspiring reinterpretations of Italian jazz tunes. Vocalist Laura Cavallero, pianist Luigi Martinale, bassist Stefano Risso, and drummer Paolo Franciscone have used their own wildly inventive arranging power to make an album of nuggets sound new and vibrant. For starters, there are two versions of "Ma l'Amore No," a slow one and a quicker, post-bop blues version that comes out of the gate charging in 9/8. And then there's "Bambina Innamorata," erected from the harmonics in Coltrane's "Giants Steps" with inverted lines in the intervals. And there is also the intense invention of a beautiful tune like "Non Dimenticar," which uses a rhythm made of seven fourths in the first section and then three fourths, creating a tricky intervallic architecture to stride through -- and the band does so without a hitch. The harmonic invention used in "Nebbia," with its cascading chromaticism courtesy of Cavallero and Martinale, is breathtaking, while the large augmented chords and tight rhythmic hold of "Tu Musica Divina" offer a glimpse of how disciplined these proceedings are. Make no mistake, this is a mainstream jazz recording and, as such, it is flawlessly executed and tremendously innovative. The Jazzinaria Quartet is a band to take great delight in.

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