March 2010 By Jonathan Woolf (www.musicweb-international.com)
Saxophonist Tommaso Starace has decided to build some variety into this hour long set recorded in March 2009. Therefore he opens with an unaccompanied solo called Prelude to Isfahan which does exactly what it says, acting as an entrée to the Strayhorn piece that follows. One might expect his alto playing to sail close to Johnny Hodges’s wind but actually it sounds daringly like Phil Woods. The lyricism here is fluid, textured and tonally coloured. There are decent solos from the other front liners.
The hand clapping of Divieto di Sosta augments the funky groove predicated on the righteous aura of Cannonball Adderley, whose influence has also, like that of Woods, seeped into Starace’s playing. I don’t mind songs opening with drum solos – it actually makes something of a change – but the one that opens Seven Blues is rather laden with portentousness and, whilst Starace switches to soprano to add some timbral variety, the tune isn’t especially distinctive melodically. More interesting in this regard is Overjoyed, whose bouncing lines – featuring a flurry of post-bop virtuosity from the altoist – are ear-catching. Slow tempo articulacy is a feature of Farewell Capa where the slightly keening edge provokes thoughts that this tribute to the photographer Robert Capa is a personal memorial in sound. Fine piano solo from Michele Di Toro as well.
Confused by contrast is hard bop and Go Tom! locks into a Horace Silver heartland. Bohemia After Dark is the Oscar Pettiford standard with once again a Phil Woods edge. And in Pat Metheny’s Don’t Forget there are perhaps a few Keith Jarrettisms from Di Toro.
So this is a good straight ahead session with enough variety of mood, rhythm and soloing rotation to keep ennui, something of a feature of some quartet sessions, firmly at bay.