Marco Di Battista

Pessoa

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Italian pianist Marco Di Battista leads a well-played, tightly rehearsed group that focuses on his own straight-ahead compositions. The recording benefits from the fine playing of saxophonist Tino Tracanna, one of the country's leading improvisers. The use of a four-person rhythm section (guitar, bass, piano, and drums) adds depth to an otherwise fairly mundane set. The interaction of the acoustic bass and guitar adds a unique flavor, while the pianist colors with flowing chords. The tunes swing lightly, with all players sharing the solo space. Mauro De Fredericis is particularly effective on acoustic guitar, where, for example, on the entertaining and propulsive "La Tata di Toto" he glides across the strings, followed by some fine soloing by Di Battista and bassist Marcello Sebastiani. At their worst, some of the tracks come across as pleasant background music, though the group sometimes rises to higher levels of performance. The interpretations of the two standards, "What Is This Thing Called Love?" and "In a Sentimental Mood," are arguably the best tracks, in part because the melodies are recognizable, but also because Di Battista tries to give them novel twists, the latter performed at half-speed and then segueing to a double-time section featuring De Fredericis' electric guitar, and the latter played as a lovely duo.

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