Guitarist Lanfranco Malaguti, surrounded by saxophonist Stefano D'Anna and bassist Enzo Pietropaoli, has decidedly carved out his own series of intervallic studies in the Italian jazz canon. Foregoing traditional notions of melodic improvisation, he relies primarily on the underside of modality to get his compositions across, and for the most part they work. There is a certain sparseness that becomes a bit tense after a while but, nonetheless, if weathered long enough, its strategy and pure musicality come through the ether and grab hold of the listener. Digging deep into his mentor John Abercrombie's bag for inspiration, Malaguti has chosen a series of arpeggiated scalar devices to create modal devices that can be played linearly or without the benefit of one or more parts. Cerebral to be sure, the music is also warm and calls on the meditative space a listener usually reserves for that certain part of a recording and utilizes it through the whole frame. The best examples of Malaguti's new "shadow jazz" are on "Stride and Soul," "Starlights," "Just Fried," and "Lunar." Listen, be puzzled, but just remember to listen again. There was plenty you missed the first time.
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AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek