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CD Review: Arrigo Cappelletti/Giulio Martino Quartet – Mysterious

Arrigo Cappelletti/Giulio Martino Quartet – Mysterious
(Leo Records CD LR 615. CD Review by Chris Parker)

‘I would have never grown my interest in investigating tonality without my passion for Hindemith,  Schulhoff, Poulenc and within the jazz field I would never have cultivated my passion for the undetermined and mysterious chords of Paul Bley as well as Cecil Taylor’s clusters.’

Thus composer/pianist Arrigo Cappelletti, describing the process leading to the identification of ‘what is for us and what isn’t’. What is for him on this thoughtfully constructed, elegant album is an intriguing mix of composed ‘heads’ (anything from a striking tuneful fragment to a tantalising wisp of melody) and quartet improvisation springing from them, frequently free, but occasionally more conventional and overtly structured.

Cappelletti’s co-leader, saxophonist Giulio Martino, sets the band’s tone with his cultured, considered, pleasantly dry yet powerful style, and bassist Roberto Piccolo and drummer Nicola Stranieri are equally adept in both straightforward explorations of Cappelletti’s often jaunty, catchy themes, and the more adventurous, discursive, freer improvisations that are sparked by them.

Such a beguiling mix of immediately accessible lyricism and rubato extemporisation is more frequently encountered, generally accompanied by a sleeve portraying a frozen lake (this one shows people observing the Northern Lights), on the ECM label; Mysterious, as well as containing over an hour of consistently absorbing music, also demonstrates just what an enterprising and accommodating label Leo Records is.

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