Luca Alex Flores

Sounds & Shades of Sounds

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Pianist Luca Flores represents the best in lyrical Italian creative jazz. His knowledge of and respect for the jazz piano tradition is comprehensive to say the least, his dexterity on the keys is second to none, and his innate abilities as a composer to meld different parts of the jazz tradition and Italian folk song is paramount. This trio date with bassist Lello Paretti and drummer Piero Borri is remarkable for its diversity. Of the seven selections here, three are by Flores, two by Luca Tenco, and two are standards (Jimmy Van Heusen's "Darn That Dream" and the Romberg-Hammerstein gem "Softly as in a Morning Sunrise"). While the standards are first-rate for the interplay between Paretti and Flores and for Flores' deeply lyrical solos, it is Tenco's "Averti Tra le Mie Braccia" and Flores' own "Dice Dance" that are most interesting. On the former, the swinging chromaticism Flores displays in the intervals is keen, highlighting accents without overwhelming the melody and infusing with a chunky, swaggering swing that in turn showcases the tangled rows of arpeggios Flores plays. On the latter, recorded live, Flores takes the samba and the blues and grafts them onto one another, making the piano a true rhythm machine akin in accent and turnaround power to the drums. His contrapuntal study of the melody as an inverted series of chordal statements is truly phenomenal. It could have been recorded better, but that's a small complaint. This is a solid offering, remarkable even, from top to bottom.

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