Franco d'Andrea's working relationship with Philology owner Paolo Piangiarelli has been extremely rewarding because of the producer's imaginative pairings of the pianist with different musicians. It is very unusual to hear both a trumpeter and a trombonist with a pianist in a trio setting, but this group easily pulls it off. Fabrizio Bosso (who also doubles on flügelhorn) and trombonist Gianluca Petrella complement d'Andrea beautifully as they explore five jazz standards and several of the leader's originals. D'Andrea's choppy modal piece seems slightly inspired by Wayne Shorter's "Footprints," though its elaborate makeup takes on a character of its own. Normally a favorite of swing musicians, "Soft Winds" is radically transformed into a post-bop vehicle with a wild introduction before the familiar theme emerges, though in a fleeting, angular form. D'Andrea begins the stair-step theme of Thelonious Monk's "Misterioso" unaccompanied on each of the two takes. When the two contrasting horns are added, it ventures far from the path its composer imagined. The pianist's jaunty introduction to "Caravan" is another delightful surprise, giving way to a loping treatment with incredible playing by all three gentlemen. Bosso adds a mute for John Coltrane's "Naima," though it is Petrella's powerful solo that is the centerpiece of this thought-provoking arrangement. This is easily one of Franco d'Andrea's best CDs.
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