Giovanni Mazzarino

The Cyclone

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He calls it The Cyclone, but Italian pianist Giovanni Mazzarino's mainstream album is anything but cyclone-ish. A more descriptive title might be Silence, Please!, which Mazzarino called an earlier and clearly superior release, also on the Splasc(h) Records label. This recording has an early-'50s feel to the compositions and a light swinging quality to the arrangements that might elicit a yawn or two, though the melodies tend to grow on the listener. The pieces generally follow predictable patterns of head-solos-head (with an occasional surprise ending), and the fairly ordinary harmonies and decent improvisations produce something pleasant though hardly distinguished. Mazzarino's solos dip into the well of early bop, a genre in which he appears heavily influenced. Mostly the volume is kept down, as is the intensity, although on a piece such as "Tertulia" the tempo and sound are cranked up a bit, reminiscent somewhat of early Miles. At its best, there is a tempered beauty to the writing, something that is evidenced on the lovely "Glass Mistery," which encompasses a delicacy not unlike that of the Miles Davis/Gil Evans Birth of the Cool collaborations recorded more than 50 years earlier. Overall, though, that sound is difficult to reproduce and while Mazzarino does not expressly try to do so, the album nonetheless does not fulfill expectations, particularly coming after the acclaimed Silence, Please!