Danielle Cavallanti A World of Sounds

Rudi Records RRJ1040

An exceptional session of mature, forthright improvisations, Shadows unequivocally proves that timbral experimentation can take place while maintaining a supportive rhythmic pulse. If there are any shadows cast on the nine selections here they’re those of John Coltrane and Eric Dolphy. But despite a similarity in instrumentation, the four Milanese players are accomplished enough to make a distinctive dialect mid-way between Bop and Free their native language.

Tenor saxophonist Danielle Cavallanti has been part of the Italian Instabile Orchestra and his own Nexus and other groups; Francesco Chiapperini, who plays alto saxophone, bass clarinet and flute, leads the Extemporary Vision Ensemble (EVE). Bassist Gianluca Alberti has recorded with Dino Betti Van Der Noot and EVE as has drummer Toni Boselli.

Cavallanti’s writing allows the quartet to let loose on more abstract lines such as “Impro n. 2” and more sequenced material such as the salutes to two esteemed double bassists, American “William Parker” and the late South African “Harry Miller”. The later, with its vigorous exposition is the more forceful of the two, with the tenor saxophonist’s coarse pressure defining the chromatic movement seconded by harsh, flutter-tongued vibrations from the alto saxophone. Alberti’s foursquare thumps confirm his own progressive pulse on this and “William Parker”, with the second also providing space for bass walking and percussive slaps.

Energetic throughout, Chiapperini can add coloratura bass clarinet decorations, warming flute draughts and reed-biting saxophone trills when needed. One stand-out instance of this on “Impro n. 2”, where high-pitched transverse air and stuttering tenor saxophone snarls smear variation upon variations of the theme, as drummer Boselli creates a rhythmic totem. The reedists also remake Wayne Shorter’s “Infant Eyes” in layered counterpoint, with tones swelling from basso to altissimo. True transformation is created in Cavallanti’s honking interjections and in how Chiapperini masticates split tones from his bass clarinet.

Since Coltrane and Dolphy rarely played in this configuration, their shades can easily be put aside. Another mark of the group’s originality is its particular Italian jollity. Who else would have the courage to recast “God Bless You Merry Gentleman” as an Aylerican romp?

—Ken Waxman

Track Listing: 1. Trance Minutes 2. Ju Ju 3. Impro n. 1 4. God Rest You, Merry Gentlemen 5. Impro n. 2 6. William Parker 7. Infant Eyes 8. Anam 9. Harry Miller

Personnel: Francesco Chiapperini (alto saxophone, bass clarinet and flute); Daniele Cavallanti (tenor saxophone); Gianluca Alberti (bass) and Toni Boselli (drums)