CD REVIEW: Mimi Verderame Quartet – Flying Zone

Mimi Verderame Quartet – Flying Zone
(Jazz Addiction. CD Review by Sebastian Scotney)

Mimi (full name Domenico) Verderame is a Belgian drummer. He has been called “a monument” of the national jazz scene in Belgium, and has had the drum chairs in both the Brussels Jazz Orchestra and the trio of pianist Nathalie Loriers. This new album is his fifth as leader. If one listens to this album, say, straight after some New York post-bop, then the first impression is that it is understated, subtle, even polite. In the place of in-your-face assertiveness, here we find measured interaction and gentleness; that sense of basking in, and simply enjoying, melody.

Verderame himself fills out textures imaginatively, respectfully, but also has moments to step forward. In the final track, Monk’s Brilliant Corners, he shows a positive leader-ish approach. He clearly knows the original with Max Roach, but he registers difference and individuality too. Verderame is able to create the different feels in the composition without actually altering the core pulse. The tango-ish march section is particularly effective.

One rising star name to watch out for, and whose reputation will be enhanced by this album, is the pianist Nicola Andrioli. His most effective moment is the piano prelude to his own composition Every Sunday. Andrioli’s name is here to stay.

The eletric bass of Dario Deidda is also a strong feature. He sets the track Martha in motion with a characterful, repeated loping bass figure; and there is fabulous dexterity and eloquence in some fast, flamboyant, Marcus Miller-ish fingerwork on the track Calypso.

On the first few hearings of this album, I wasn’t quite so sure about the Czech guitarist David Dorůžka, who came across to me as a bit bland at first; but his elegant style of playing and his fluency definitely grew on me.

I liked the visual gag that the cover uses one colour, verdigris, for which the drummer’s surname is the Italian translation. Like that colour, this is the kind of album which could function as pleasant background; but just as verdigris is a subtle colour, the very high quality of the playing, recording and production is only, and then gradually, revealed by close listening.

LINK: YouTube video EPK for Flying Zone

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