Not as adventurousness as the Italian Instabile Orchestra, the Riccardo Luppi Ensemble (or ensembles, to be exact) offers a glimpse at the fertile mind of this leading Italian jazz composer. The eight tracks are taken from four live performances over a three year period and feature some of the leading improvisers from Italy, including pianists Stefano Battaglia and Riccardo Fassi, saxophonists Daniele Callavanti and Claudio Fasoli, and trombonist Lauro Rossi. While Luppi, who performs on flutes and tenor and soprano saxophones, is very much within the jazz mainstream at heart, his eight compositions flirt with group improvisation, changing tempos, and other post-bop techniques. The sweeping thrust of his writing for orchestras, which generally include three brass, three reeds, two drummers, piano, and string bass, suggests some exciting new directions that take off where tradition ends. There is a consistency to the arrangements in the dense harmonies, layered brass, heavy percussion, and floating piano. Definitely worth a listen.
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