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Tino Tracanna: 292

Album Notes

Italy's most irrepressible saxophonist is on track on this 1990 date with a quintet of his most capable and ardent compatriots. For starters, there's Massimo Colombo on piano and other keyboards, bassist Marco Micheli, drummer Francesco Sotgiu, and the inimitable Naco on percussives. Trumpeter Paolo Fresu makes three appearances and vocalist Maria Pia De Vito makes a couple as well, rounding out the band. But the focal point here is Tracanna, the most lyrical of all the Italian saxophonists, and the most diverse after his mentor, Mario Schiano. As a composer, Tracanna knows no jazz bounds. As he begins, he clocks in with the electric piano and synth work on a modern creative tune called "Kim," which features his own soprano playing as the contrapuntal melody to the changes. On "Micro Cats," the exploration turns to a new kind of melodic voicing created by intertwining microtonalities, sequenced by time figures. And then there are the ballads. Featuring De Vito and Fresu on "Night Way," the lyrical exchange between Fresu and Tracana in the break is breathtaking, and, as they play above and against the vocal in the verse sections, the entire tune seems to come away from its rhythm and changes and hover in the air like a full moon. On the title track, which closes the album, Tracana and De Vito nearly perform a duet; his playing is sensual and full of response-oriented ostinatos. Her singing is like a kiss to his embrace and follows the entire melody down to a place of stillness that is interrupted only by subtle sonic environments imposed by Colombo and Naco. In all, this is one of Tracana's finest recordings, a work of utter beauty and nearly impossible innovation. 292 is truly a wonder. ~ Thom Jurek


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