Alberto Parmegiani and his fellow musicians have put together a program of new original music that gets to the heart of what all music, in spite of genre, is striving towards. That core is melody, and what Alberto and the others demonstrate is that this musical foundation is at the center of everything that takes place over these 50 minutes of music.
I first met Alberto in the very early 90’s when he was a student of mine at the Mannes College of Music in NYC. We were all quite young and getting our act together. He showed me back then that he had a lively and inquisitive spirit and he was taking advantage of the knowledge the city had to offer a young jazz musician. We all moved on from there and Alberto made his way back to Italy to pursue his music.
That’s why, for me, it is such a gift to hear Alberto so many years later, mature, fully exemplifying the deep spirit of the jazz musician that was nascent in the student over 25 years ago.
Back to the melody. Alberto, Claudio, Daniele, Armando and Enzo are all melodists of the first degree. Everything is melody. From On My Radio throughout the entire cd we are given examples of thoughtfully written compositions where the melody sits above, given the space and air it deserves and all the musicians are at the service of the song. Each musician is controlling the sonic environment with empathy and an agreement that the collective is more important than the individual parts. That is high music making. Alberto’s guitar solo on the first track shows him to be very aware of all that has transpired in the jazz guitar world over the last 40 years but he has been able to adapt it to his own dialect. He and the others are able to create solos where the melody still is the focus. As they go about soloing over the songs harmony there is always a referencing back to the melody so that the song never wanders far from our thoughts.
Alberto also has the maturity and oversight to allow for everyone in his ensemble to have an equal voice. The solo order varies tune to tune and no solo ever comes close to going on too long before another voice enters and our palates are cleansed.
Songs with no lyrics offer the listener a very subjective opportunity to decode the music’s inspiration and origin. I can’t help when listening but to hear a certain geography, a locale where the music came out of and is traveling within. 4 Marzo 1997 for example puts me in a car driving down the Amalfi Coast. Scenic, patient and spacious the music unfolds as it drives ahead in no particular rush. Even in this era of democracy of information, art still maintains an adherence to a location. We can not help but have our music be affected by where we live. My subjective ears place a lot of the music on this cd in Italy. The phrasing of the melody on Lydian Sorrow is simple, pure and not glorified, similar to a great Italian meal. The landscape that is introduced at the beginning of The Calculator transports me to the South with its inherent broader space and deeper flavors.
Everyone is playing great here. On Close to the Edge, Claudio pushes the harmony close to the edge yet stands firm. His solos are always melody driven and organic. Daniele is providing a solid foundation throughout and also encouraging the others with his thoughtful bass lines. His solo on 4 Marzo is concise, vocal, and expressive. Armando gets a great sound from his drums, is always serving the music and finds the best spots in the song to enter the conversation. Enzo has an enticing dry sound and great restraint and gives the ensemble and extra voice that has a lot to say.
And Alberto throughout the record shows himself to a very nuanced modern guitar player. His subtle tone changes from tune to tune create just the right amount of sonic adjustment to let the music speak dramatically. His concision reflects a maturity and his use of space and control are attributes of an experienced musician.
I am so happy to have reentered Alberto’s musical world after many years and to experience and enjoy his melody driven landscapes. Enjoy!
Kingston, NY March ‘18