3. SEBSI 11:55

TOTAL 75:15

yvp music 3121

Gaspare Di Lieto

Gaspare Di Lieto, piano
Billy Harper, tenor sax
Fabrizio Bosso, trumpet
Reuben Rogers, bass
Eric Harland, drums


That Di Lieto is familiar with the ciphers of African American music is something he had already demonstrated in the past in a fine, moving partnership with Larry Schneider. On that occasion - like on this, as a matter of fact - the pianist showed great mastery of what Aaron Copland called the four essential elements of musical composition: melody, harmony, rhythm and colour. But here the artist also gives evidence of an attitude sincerely open to controlled experimentation, of a stylistic projection that grows stronger in the course of a constant and by no means tolerant comparison with time and space, the desire to come up with jazz with a bop turn, not so far away from tradition, but surrounded, or rather exericised, by a theory something like "communicating vessels".
It is as though Di Lieto were inserting two different ways of interpreting music in the same track. It all happens at once, without any parallel movements, as though the composition were somehow doubled or multiplied by two. While on the one hand you appreciate a new approach to African American music - lively, profound and evident in the rounds of improvisation - on the other you realise that this pianist is quite unusually dynamic. There is a verve that you will appreciate above all as he supports tenor Billy Harper's solos - Harper is fantastic when he is let loose over fiery flames of notes approaching free - or Bosso on trumpet, a musician who loves things linear, does not avoid "disarticulations" and lives in close symbiosis with the advantages to be had from his familiarity with metronomic speed. On the other hand again, you will notice a sensation, a sort of changing expressiveness (not the same thing as changing language) that flows freely through the seven tracks on this album. There is no distinct division in the material, but a "dialoguing accord" that Di Lieto refines by pairing two different souls together, without creating a contrast between them, but letting the one valorise the other. In reality, there is no attempt to make any explicit declarations, or to prevaricate, about either one of these entities rather than the other: Gaspare's Mediterranean being is something genuine and to a certain extent also a source of inspiration that simply cannot be avoided. But his "American" side is even more marked, making it easy to hear his music as a potential soundtrack blasting out of a futuristic club on 52nd Street. You will sense this treatment loud and clear when Di Lieto's piano - the ululating offspring of ductile, unencumbered swing, as musical as a Mozart aria and powerfully liquid - rams into Sunrise Blues. That is when you get the feeling that you are living in another dimension, as you are catapulted back to the fifties or sixties, but with no sense of the time warp. Gaspare's jazz has a strongly carnal component, like the "beauteous Indian Girl hurrying stately ... whose lips are like cherries, her cheeks just purse them out all the more to kiss them and suck their juices out", that Kerouac described in the eleventh Chorus of his San Francisco Blues. That is this artist's intimate secret: by doing without the avantgarde updates rife in modern jazz, the pianist's tracks never give way to passing time, nor give any discounts to the beauty and symmetry of a music that holds you in a special way and to which he feels he can still give so much creativity and innovation.

The group's formula is simple: the assimilation of the jazz structures is followed, as indeed it should be, by the talent of the individuals. The line-up alternates with the solos to fulfil a precise function: to "fill" what is "empty" in nature: the formal layouts whose extent is allowed to change and grow from time to time; the ether, creating pregnant atmospheres identified by changes that are certainly not sudden, but incisive; the ear of the audience that learns to use its heart to listen too. This leader's jazz is made of completeness, expands firmly and coherently, expresses a sensuality and an attraction facilitated by the combinations of counterpoint and by the duels between the parties. It is a "paste" of sound, compact yet gifted - as a result of the creative dialectic of Eric Harland's drums - with an enviable elasticity. In this synchronous mechanism, you will not find any mathematical rules, nor any rigidity or weakness. The instrumental organisation on Black and White in Front of the Blue Sea, for example, with the palpitating soul of Reuben Rogers' double bass, enshrines the mysteries of a vibrant composition conveyed with solid, well-balanced proportions of sound. To go back to Kerouac again, he might have said that Di Lieto wanted to "earn later sunset purple", mixing happiness with irony, virtuoso performance with a wonderful patina of unusual melancholy.

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