Jazz Sensibilities

Since 2008, a place to discover new jazz and beyond releases on the rise. New WEBSITE and New Contributors Adding. Stay Tuned. Until then, enjoy the blog, but check back often.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

MoFrancesco Quintetto, Maloca

by Jeff Becker

Well-crafted and swinging, bassist Francesco Valente presents bits of hard bop mixed with contemporary refrains, coupled with musicianship that sparkles with each track.

Maloca has a very western feel arising from its Italian composer. Valente's playing feels like a combination of classic Ray Brown, balanced with a more contemporary Christian McBride.  "Tchap" and "Maloca" both present an effervescent of youthful expressionism.   Lucena and Gaspar have searing exchanges throughout the beginning of the piece, while Valente creates a calm and reserved energy allowing his bandmates the room to stretch out on the proceedings. 

"Maloca" is infused with a hint of Latin flavor, but is not a total cop to the latin vibe, the piece is focused on stretching out with subtle chord changes by Gasper and Moreira with Valente patterning a  groovy and infectious pad, that still carries an air of understated resplendent. 

Valente's re-interpretation of Bela Bartok's "Romanian Folk Dances" is a beaming interpretation, a fierce piece to perform with skill within the classical cannon.  The piece originally featuring a violinist who must be in top form to navigate Valente re-interprets the piece into a delicate and wonderfully emotional romantic march.

The closer "Soul" written by trumpeter, Johannes Krieger, is a burning number with excellent individual lines and deeply rooted rhythms; the excitement immediately catches you up in the moment.  Maloca is an invigorating session that holds strong within tradition, while still exploring and creating a new individual sound, a solid debut from Francesco Valente and his MoFrancesco Quintetto. Highly Recommended.

Patrick Battstone and Richard Poole, The Last Taxi

by Jeff Becker

The Last Taxi sports two apt leaders at the helm.  Pianist, Patrick Battstone began performing music professionally at the age of 14, playing in various rock, blues, and R&B bands in South Western Ohio. By the time he was 18, he had received lessons from Stan Kenton and Gary Burton, had been mentored by Oscar Treadwell (Oska T.   In 1973, he attended Berklee College of Music and soon after became a student of both Mme Chaloff and Charlie Banacos. One of his bands, which featured hometown friend Grover Mooney, opened the fabled 1369 Club in Cambridge in 1976. During the 80’s, Patrick studied the works of Scriabin under the renowned Serge Conus. In 1986, he resumed jazz studies with Joanne Brackeen in NYC for a period of six years.

Richard Poole is a composer, collaborator and performing musician.  On this project he command the vibraphone and drum chair.  After attending Berklee in the early 1970’s, Richard moved to Miami, Florida and studied Music Composition (scholarship) at Miami International University, graduating in 1976. As a composer and collaborator, Richard has worked with many of the 20th century’s great jazz artists, including: Paul Bley, Mark Eagen, Don Bradon, Ira Sullivan, Curtis Fuller, George Garzone, Rebecca Parris, Johnny Walker and Jaco Pastorius.

Battstone and Poole have a history of creating deeply moving chemistry with their previous collaborations, Through an Open Door and Mystic Nights were both deeply rooted in a chamber jazz moniker.  On this effort, it was refreshing to see the two did not reinvent the wheel and kept firmly rooted in the essence of their “chamber jazz” while expanding the overall textural sound with the addition of Chris Rathbun on bass and Todd Brunel on bass clarinet.  The result was a cohesive yet invigorating conversation that ebbed and flowed with rich dialogue and enthralling discovery. 

The spontaneity of each improvisation keeps the outing fresh and filled with surprise around every corner.  The Last Taxi is meant to be savored, like the moments you spend with a longtime friend you have not seen in years; enjoy the moments and revel in the memories.  Certainly a must add to any creative improvisational or avant library.  Highly Recommended!!