Rosario Giuliani

Lennie's Pennies

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Rosario Giuliani is one of Europe's top alto saxophonists, possessing a bright, happy tone much of the time while eschewing for the most part rapid-fire theatrics. Joining him is pianist Pierre De Bethmann, bassist Darryl Hall, and drummer Joe La Barbera. Several of the pieces are interpretations of well-known works. Giuliani has a blast in his wild workout of Lennie Tristano's challenging "Lennie's Pennies," while the loping setting of Joe Zawinul's "74 Miles Away" is full of fireworks. The saxophonist doesn't just stick close to the melody of Jimmy Rowles' lush ballad "The Peacocks," but introduces an introductory riff that is incorporated by the bass throughout much of the piece, while he detours from the theme in an expressive improvisation. The standards are fairly straightforward, with an emotional "Love Letters" and brisk "How Deep Is the Ocean?" The originals are strong as well. The leader's jazz waltz "Dear Father" and intricate uptempo cooker "Over Lines" shine, along with De Bethmann's haunting ballad "Patience." Recommended.

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