By Fabrizio Ciccarelli
Paolo Lattanzi’s quintet, particularly active in the areas of Boston and New York, gives in “Night Dancers” a convincing impression, proposing ten original compositions excellently arranged by the inspired inventiveness of the drummer end performed with an innovative approach, intelligently close to the post hardbop jazz tradition.
The creative ability of each band member emerges from a certain flattening that the blue notes have been suffering lately: what strikes mainly is the originality, both in the compositions and the performance, the ability to create wide and clear atmospheres, and a never overbearing personality with which the lesson of Coltrane and Holland is renewed.
The album is characterized by a quite original instrumental timber: expressive and solid especially when each member is free to show his personal soloing talent. At times the sound resembles that of some excellent ECM productions some others it is defined by a fleeting, poetic, introspective and nocturne pathos.
In the following interview Paolo’s words will be more significant than my own. <Read More>
F.C.: How was the project “Night Dancers” born?
P.L.: I wrote the tunes between the years 2002 and 2005. I strongly wanted to record this album, I had written a good number of songs that I felt meaningful and thought that it was time to unify them all in a single work. In Night Dancers there is a lot of what my life has been these last four years.
F.C.: A musical biography?
P.L.: Something like that. Sometimes you write music just for the pleasure of doing it, of experimenting, or even to compete with your own limits… at different levels these aspects are all part of the album; however what I believe to be its strongest characteristic are my ties with the moments when I wrote or conceived those tunes. Perhaps, instead of a biography, this is rather a collection of thoughts and feelings.
F.C.: In fact the album appears like a set of works, inspired by different inner moments.
P.L.: The line of connection that I tried to keep from a tune to the other was the intention to “convey”: whether it was a feeling, a mood or an idea, that was my final goal. What differs from tune to tune was the technique and approach I chose.
F.C.: Effectively you can hear it, and this is, in my opinion, a strong merit of this album: “suffered”, meditated.
P.L.: Thank you. A pro of instrumental music is the absence of words to dictate what interpretation you have to give it or how to relate to it; that’s something that everyone lives alone in his/her own way, depending on one’s personality. Therefore I believe that different people will perceive this CD in different ways, depending on which side of it will trigger their sensitivity…
F.C.: I agree. And technically?
P.L.: I think that my way of writing music (at least up to “Night Dancers”) is characterized mainly by the rhythmic approach juxtaposed to the melodic and harmonic structure of the tune. There are elements in the music of Dave Holland, for instance, or Steve Coleman, Avishai Cohen and in some case of Wynton Marsalis (and others) as well, that strongly influenced me.
F.C.: Those are definitely great examples! Just a doubt: when you speak of Marsalis, do you refer to his “chromatism” or to the thoughtful flowing of certain mixed meters? What do you think of Jarrett and some ECM productions?
P.L.: Yeah, speaking of Marsalis I was exactly thinking of the use of some mixed meters or polyrhythms. My discovery of jazz happened gradually, but I identify the first album of Pat Metheny Group (talking about ECM!) as the link that let me investigate this music and discover many of its shades and evolutions.
F.C.: Earlier you mentioned Dave Holland: in my opinion he deserves a special place in the history of jazz… few like him are able to use such a modern and innovative language.
P.L.: It is how he uses the most various forms of “oddness” (both rhythmically and in the structure on the piece) that strikes me. He always manages to make the listener at ease thanks to the melodies and to the subtleties of the harmonies, balancing the global feel and making the music fluid and elegant.
F.C.: That’s right, I’d like to mention, for that matter, the elegance of Jarrett with Peacock and DeJonette.
P.L.: I saw that trio live two times. At times it felt like the music was phisically touchable!
F.C.: Being more technical about your album?
P.L.: For what concerns the specific harmonic aspect I basically used three approaches: functional harmony (as in 14/2 and Cicerchì’s Wanderlust), horizontal modal harmony (i.e. Other Lands) vertical modal harmony (Fairy Tales to a Child) and a mix of the previous with some non-functional harmony (Four Years Gone o May). Each of them allows different sonorities and possibilities that, at times, are very specific. Structurally, with the exception of “Four Years Gone”, all the tunes reflect the model of the jazz standards, where you essentially have a form that repeats itself while the soloist plays on top (although in some cases like in “May” the solos have a different structure than the main form…).
F.C.: How much should we all be grateful to Mingus for his extraordinary creativity and arranging skills? Your improvisations are inventive and suggestive but what happens with the melody? Sorry if it sounds banal but there seems to be something new.
P.L.: It all depends on the sonority of the composition, I think. Some of the tunes in the CD presume a traditional approach while others leave space to more creative choices. My intent was to allow the improvisation to take any directions with no restrains. The only thing I asked to my band mates was to play what they felt and get carried by the mood of each tune: they are excellent musicians and I knew that each of them would have “embraced” my musical statements and started from there. From that moment on I just did my best to cover the role of the drummer supporting their ideas and building some together. I believe that one of the most important things to remember when you write a piece of music is that there must be a time where the tune is left free to develop into whatever it “wants” to become. In order for it to happen the music must be everybody’s. Otherwise it would be like talking with somebody you have previously given the dialogue itself! The search for the right musicians for this album is another point to which I devoted a lot of attention. As in Jazz’s best tradition, I wanted the music to be strongly influenced by the different personalities involved. More specifically I wanted to gather musicians characterized by different approaches and sensitivities, that way I could obtain diverse atmospheres and more options to explore. I think I succeeded: Aurelien, Pau and Nikolay are quite different players and when one of them takes the lead, he gives the music a new face, but never compromising a necessary sense of coherency. Marco’s remarkable work on the bass displays sensitivity above the standard.
F.C.: This is a topic that deserves to be covered more in depth, at least for the readers and for who enjoys especially Moiseenko’s multi-shaped twists (powerful!). Let’s talk about it…
P.L.: Sure, I anticipated a good part of it in the previous question but there’s more to say.
Putting together people/musicians with different personalities is not that difficult, what needs attention is creating a context where they can work together. Luckily this is what happened with this group, maybe because I stated from the very beginning that variety was exactly what I was looking for. Of course, crucial for this matter was their reliable and positive attitude… and the cookies I brought at every rehearsal! When you have those requirements the rest comes naturally. Jazz was our meeting ground. After all interplay is the main point of it. I knew that arranging a track assigning a solo to one of them rather than another would have changed its sound dramatically. The track that features them all together is Fairy Tales to a Child. The idea for that song was to tie each solo to the previous in order to design a parabolic shape. I also tried to increase diversity through the use of different combinations of instruments like the acoustic guitar and the bowed bass solo in 14/2 as opposed to the fretless guitar in Other Lands or the electric bass in In A Dark Room; I have to say that my band mates have been brilliant to this regard.
F.C.: Budynek at times doesn’t seem to be completely on the same pace with the rhythm section, maybe it depends on his style and sensitivity. Other times he shows influences from the schools of the most controvert guitarists (for the “scholars”) such as Bill Frisell… do you think it has something to do with his way of being “acid”?
P.L.: I wouldn’t know… for what concerns his influences or where he roots his style I have to say that you got me off balance! I understand what you mean with the word “acid”. From that point of view the contrast between him and Nikolay is evident. The sound of the saxophonist is open, bright, extrovert, almost “on your face”. The guitarist oftentimes plays with the tempo in a different way, willingly pulling back, sometimes preferring to use a sound effect more than a phrase. They have two different ways of playing their instruments, two different types of musical sensitivity.
F.C.: Besides playing in this album, you are the producer as well…
P.L.: Like I said earlier I strongly wanted to record this CD and I went through the different phases of its creation mainly on my own. I had considered the idea of proposing my music to some labels before getting in a studio but I wanted to make it my way. When it was time to present a completed work (at least for what concerned the audio itself…) I knocked at several doors. When I encountered Giorgio Dini of Silta Records I found a consistent, responsive person who really cares about the artistic side of a musical production. Working with him has been quite constructive.
F.C.: Giorgio is a big resource for contemporary music, we should also mention his skills as instrumentalist. Few labels like Silta have the guts to produce non pre-packed works with an intense emotional content.
P.L.: I think you are right. His efforts on the bass are amazing! I have two of his albums “Out!” and the latest “Ergskkem”. I think that’s music to listen carefully, music with a lot to say. Silta has immediately shown interest in my recording so finally this CD ideated and born in the USA and played by European musicians is released by an Italian label. Not bad for a mix, isn’t it?
F.C.: Not bad… but music, as a form of art, doesn’t know boundaries. Luckily in jazz especially we hardly find such absurd “geo-cultural” limitations. I don’t think that this CD is an easy listening, on the contrary. Is there a provocation in your music?
P.L.: I don’t know if Night Dancers unwillingly represents a provocation, that’s not what I had in mind. I would contradict myself on why I wrote this music if I said I had this intention! Certainly, however, I haven’t kept too much in consideration what it is “expected” from a jazz album (at least by the most stubborn traditional parameters!). I opted for what I felt coherent to my nature and I count more on music lovers than on those who enjoy labeling! In fact I don’t think that this album is actually hard to listen to…
F.C.: I must say that rarely you receive such moderate and clear aesthetic indications as yours. I’m happy about it, because it means that my involvement wasn’t just a “high” from modernism!
P.L.: I accept this nice compliment with a smile. Thanks.
F.C.: You have spoken of everything and everybody; shouldn’t we go for a moment over your beautiful drumming?
P.L.: Well, thanks, really! Of all questions this is the one that I find the most difficult. The difference is that before we were speaking of how I “think”, while now you want to talk about how I “speak”! I have a lot to learn, still, it’s the beauty of music. Regarding my style what I can say is that I try to connect to the musicians I’m playing with, think as much as possible like a musician more than just like a drummer… I try to listen to what’s happening and contribute to the music by placing an accent on what strikes me, suggesting other possibilities. I listen to the jazz masters and have a preference for Roy Haynes, Jack Dejohnette, Tony Williams, Bill Stewart, Billy Kilson, Brian Blade, Elvin Jones, Peter Erskine, Jeff “Tain” Watts. I like any other style of music as long as it communicates something to me and I grew up listening to Led Zeppelin and the other great rock bands of the 60’s and 70’s. I believe that all is important and can contribute to a global view!
F.C.: A last curiosity, why “Night Dancers”?
P.L.: I answer your question, but it’s confidential… if you thought that the name refers to me and my band mates you have been tricked! Actually the name of the title track derives from what I was thinking when I wrote it. Winter in Boston can be severe and some nights most people prefer to stay at home… I happily enjoy a silent, thoughtful walk. One of those nights, I don’t remember if it was foggy or snowy, I was walking down the border of the Boston Common and started to fantasize. I imagined two semi-concealed entities in the distance, vaguely illuminated by the orange and white lights, almost invisible through the fog and the trees. Two blurred beings that were performing an irregular dance, belonging to that dimension only, silent, bizarre, grotesque, suave, graceful and lonely… Night Dancers.
F.C.: So “good music” and thanks for your courtesy.
P.L.: Thank you for the interest you showed in my work!
View PDF of original
Published 01/03/2013 by Marco Paolucci
Kathodik came across Paolo Lattanzi for the first time a few years ago when the young Italian drummer published his debut release ‘Night Dancers’. An itinerant musician who has been living in the United States for quite some time, he is branching out from a modern jazz base in the search for new inspirations that the country – and especially New York City – offers to anyone who is willing to dive into that “melting pot”. I recently ran into him, which resulted in the sixth installment of ‘Chi fa da sé fa per tre’. I asked some routine questions to which Paolo Lattanzi provided some refreshingly honest and thoughtful answers. Here is what happened. <Read More>
1. What are your origins as a musician? More specifically, why and how did you make the choice to play the drums?
Music always had a strong emotional impact on me, as far back as I can remember, but over the years my musical side remained dormant, perhaps because of a lack of exposure to live music, which wasn’t abundant in Macerata when I was a kid. It was in my teenage years, when I was listening to Led Zeppelin all the time, that I realized I wanted to be a musician. I wasn’t attracted by the band’s stellar stature (fame, prestige and so forth), I become aware of the fact that I didn’t want to be just the listener, I needed to be the medium and the origin of the music. The majority of Led Zeppelin’s tunes are quite profound compositionally, and that resonated with me. The choice of the drumset was completely instinctive, or should I say intuitive if you consider that I had never seen one up-close before I bought my first kit. The day I set it up in my garage I started to study right away, I didn’t want to waste any time.
2. Why did you choose to study in the United States? How would you describe your experience at Berklee College of Music? Why Berklee, anyway?
At a certain point I got stuck. I didn’t have access to a sufficient variety of musical opportunities (both educational and practical) and I couldn’t learn anything new, so I started to feel frustrated. I had already begun listening to some jazz and fusion and I was interested in taking that direction, musically. In the meantime, I had already played with some cover bands of Satriani, Steve Vai and similar artists. Dream Theater was at the peak of its success and the idea of Berklee started to form in my mind. When I realized that I could only quit or venture somewhere else I decided to fly to the United States. Berklee College of Music is well known overseas and it accommodates many international students, which made things easier for me, it was encouraging. Also, I was eager to learn as much as I could. At the time the Conservatory in Italy wasn’t a real option if you wanted to learn the music that I liked, let alone private schools.
3. Who are your sources of inspiration when you compose? Any specific artists?
I would say all the great masters. If you asked me a few years ago I would have listed Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Wayne Shorter, Dave Holland and more recently Kenny Wheeler and Avishai Cohen (the bassist). Eventually, though, I realized that I have always been influenced by everything. Literally. Once I understood the principles at the foundations of jazz, my ability to be inspired by different sources of music expanded considerably, regardless of genre. At this time, as far as I am concerned, a musical idea is just a musical idea, it is the way in which that idea is executed that defines to what genre it belongs. I don’t think that stretching out is corruption.
4. In the previous answer you mentioned certain principles of Jazz and provided a brief interpretation of this style of music. Could you further elaborate what these principles are for you? Or even better, what is Jazz to you?
(photo by Vishesh Sharma) What I mean is that if one tries to keep an open mind – from an emotional point of view as well – it is possible to be influenced by all sorts of music and then reinterpret them through one’s own personality and style. When I say “principles” I refer to a certain type of sound and approach to the music. It is a context where the roles of technique and expressivity meld into each other. There is a lot in it besides the improvisation, which is a big subject itself. It is about how rhythm is treated, the harmony, dynamics, the way the melody is put in relation with the rest of the elements.
This holds true, in different ways, for all music styles, including Classical and Rock. As cliché as it may seem, I draw a parallel with spoken language. Different languages have their own phonetic, syntactic rules, cadences, organization of ideas and, surprisingly, even different vocabularies. There are words specific to certain languages that do not exist in others, it is because of the culture they evolved in – and yet translation is nonetheless possible. Furthermore, languages evolve to accommodate new ideas.
Jazz, by the way, is hardly confined by one genre. Straight-ahead and Contemporary are perhaps the two biggest groups, but there are countless subgenres (so to speak). The departure of contemporary jazz from the straight-ahead is due to generations of musicians who continued to expand the vocabulary both on their own instrument and in the way the instruments interact with each other, especially in the rhythm section. Miles was one of the initiators of this process, but the list of contributors is long.
What always interested me about jazz is that it helps me reduce to the minimum the gap and the filters between what is inside of me and what exits through my instrument or the instruments that I write for. This is what attracted me. It is a style that has a rich vocabulary and that allows for a lot of freedom.
5. Let’s get down to the nitty gritty: after an interesting and promising debut, in your second album ‘Multitude’ you changed the ensemble and involved the famous trombonist Robin Eubanks. How did you come up with the concept for this recording and how was it to play with such a Jazz giant?
I didn’t write the tunes in ‘Night Dancers’ with the plan in mind to make a recording. For the largest part they were Berklee projects, and the rest was music that I wrote just for my own pleasure. So, even if arranged and orchestrated to have a cohesive sound and character, my first recording is a composite work that was created thanks to a decision that I made long after I composed that music. I wanted to record ‘Night Dancers’ because those tunes - which I had played in different settings – are representative of those four years, and I wanted to celebrate the end of that era by fixing them on disc.
The concept behind “Multitude” is more mature. I started to compose the music with a clear idea of what I wanted in terms of sound and instrumentation: an acoustic album where I could work in depth with the arrangements. I wanted to think multiple voices rather than single melodies. Initially, I had written everything for quintet. Robin Eubanks became part of the project practically at the last minute, so I rushed back to the writing desk and composed the trombone parts only days before the recording session, working within the spaces defined by the other instruments. Not exactly the conditions you want to be in when you write for such a master! But it did work out.
Playing with people like Robin Eubanks highlights what really matters in music, both in terms of sound and musical choices. I learned a lot from that experience. He became part of the band and played my compositions selflessly, committing to the music rather than acting like a star. For me, that confirmed what I had been thinking for a long time, and what is sometimes overlooked: that a musician should listen to what the music needs rather than what the ego demands.
6. Who would you like to work with after this experience?
With everybody! Hyperbole? Maybe. Let’s just say that I would like to work with any musician who has a sound and a personality.
7. What are you currently working on?
I have been composing a new set of tunes that will become a recording, as far as my original music goes. The rest of the Characteristic Pitches – the group with which I recorded ‘Multitude’ – is in Boston, so I will put together a new ensemble.
Following my relocation to New York City I met a number of musicians interested in free jazz. Playing this kind of music so frequently gave me an interesting perspective on composing: in my newest tunes, I am experimenting with different ways to incorporate elements of free jazz. I am not abandoning composition and arranging because I believe that those are necessary elements, but I am trying to blur the boundaries between those two worlds while remaining true to my personal aesthetic principles. In ‘Multitude’ I had already started to use the solos in a different way than I did before, so I think that I am moving forward in the same direction.
8. What do you usually listen to? Any specific genres?
I listen to a lot of jazz, especially contemporary jazz. Sometimes I go back to my roots and put on some 60/70’s rock. I keep track of what is going on in the popular genres to see where the taste of the general public is going, and sometimes I hear things that impress me. Most of all I go to see as much live music as I can.
9. How is your experience with the music scene in the US, and more in particular in New York, in terms of networking with musicians and venues to perform at?
Musically, New York is an incredibly active city; there are so many places where you can see live music. I discover new ones all the time. Usually they are small rooms where there is an intimate vibe between the artists and the audience. Socializing is in the nature of the city, and musicians themselves often go to see live music, so networking tends to happen naturally.
The relationship between the audience and the musicians is also different. In a way the two planes are closer to each other. The performers are more approachable and the audience is more emotionally invested.
The music level in general is very high: New York is both a great challenge and a great inspiration. Even the people who play in the subway or on the street are generally pretty good. Sometimes while you wait for a train you get to enjoy a fine performance: solo, duo, trio…
10. How do you see the music scene in the US from your perspective of Italian expatriate?
From day one, I was struck by the ease of the relationship between people here and music. There is very little mysticism. They decide what they want to do, and then they do it. Honestly I can’t speak for the entire country – it’s quite big and diverse – so I refer only to what I have seen in Boston and NYC. Keeping in mind that these are generalizations, I am impressed by the relationship between musicians: they tend to encourage each other or at least show respect. Live music is quite present in the American culture – for example, on TV it is quite normal for the late shows to have their house bands and to feature music guests.
It is also interesting to see the number of philanthropic associations that support deserving artists through financial aid, grants, access to higher educational programs and so forth. These are things that can make a difference in the life of a young artist and at the same time promote indirectly the idea that arts matter. It would be great if the same happened in Italy.
More specifically to the world of jazz one of the many things that I like is that established musicians welcome new artists: often times older and newer generations come together and make meaningful new music. What seem to matter are the qualities and the contribution of who is playing. After all if in the 1960s Miles Davis had not cared about four young musicians, he probably would have continued to make successful recordings, but the evolution of jazz would have been very different.
11. How do you see the music scene in Italy from the American perspective?
This is a tough one. In the short periods of time that I am in Italy I am there on vacation, to visit family and friends. I wasn’t born in a big city, so my perspective is unavoidably distorted by that.
It seems that the jazz scene is picking up with the new generation. Unfortunately I hear that there is not a great demand for live music, and especially jazz concerts are perceived as somewhat elitist. I fear that perhaps part of the responsibility is on the musicians’ side, for covering themselves in an aura of mysticism that may have invoked admiration, but that in the long run created a fracture in the audience that felt the music to be inaccessible.
I have also heard that there is a scarcity of venues for performing and for musicians to exchange ideas. Still, Italy hosts a significant number of jazz festivals that involve both national and international artists. Luckily these events are quite successful and are well-known abroad, so I suppose that the issue is on the local scale.
A beauty of Italy is that there are many companies that make high quality musical instruments. I think that it is a heritage of our artisan origins. For instance, the Italian accordion (fisarmonica), as well as all the string instruments (double bass, violin and so forth), are held in high regard in the United States. I play UFIP cymbals – and they sound great; they work perfectly for me and also for the people I play with.
12. Finally, we must ask: how do you see your future, music, life, everything else?
I keep working on improving, both on the drums and as a composer. I maintain an interest in learning more about music. I play with as many people as I can and I try to be inspired by them and to inspire them myself.
I also try to evolve as a person. I guess that the rest is not in my hands. After all, as human beings, the best we can do is just our best. Isn’t it?
View PDF of original.
'Multitude' by the Characteristic Pitches feat. Robin Eubanks
Disc of the Month
Born in Macerata in 1977 and relocated to Boston a decade ago, Lattanzi presents us with one of the greatest CDs of these years. One can’t help but admiring the fullness of the ensemble playing that he was able to create thanks to his writing skills, developed during his years at Berklee in Boston.
In general song titles are suggestion, but here they often seem to be philosophical concepts, which confirms that Lattanzi’s is above all a “thought” opus, where forms are ideated and developed. <Read More>
The group was assembled last year and advances with exemplary solidity through music that finds its roots in the sixties’ postbop (Hancock, Shorter, Blue Note’s school of thought). Lattanzi (who’s style primarily incorporates Roy Haynes’ and Tony Williams’) thoroughly understands that the immediate future of jazz stems from those distant experiences and offers quite a convincing proof of it. The only famed musician in the group is Eubanks, but all of these players are moved by a contagious enthusiasm that will affect any listener.
View PDF of original.
By Philip Booth
For his second recording as leader – and his first with Boston-based Characteristic Pitches quintet – drummer Paolo Lattanzi penned an album full of forward-leaning compositions that are uniformly appealing and often exhilarating. Multitude’s 11 tunes – seven of which feature guest trombonist Robin Eubanks – are frequently surprising, too, in terms of how Lattanzi uses tonal colors and inventively manipulates chordal rhythmic patterns. The group’s sound and modus operandi are tough to nail down – and that’s a good thing.
Eubanks, best known recently for his works in Dave Holland’s bands, is the ringer. And he lives up to his stellar billing, starting with his ebullient solo on the opening “Illusions”, a mid-tempo piece that’s mostly in seven. Nearly 10 minutes long, it swoops from cellar-dwelling to roof-raising. Eubanks also contributes some great licks to “Out There (On the Streets).” The tune starts with a cascading, choir-like passage; progresses to a stair-stepping groove anchored by Lattanzi and bassist Greg Loughman; and then makes room for an angular, darting solo by trumpeter Daniel Rosenthal. The trombonist also shines on the quick-shifting “Neglected Potential” and on the stately-to-fiery closer “Common Nonsense.”
As both a five- and six-piece, the band boasts a big, sonorous sound. But Multitude is also marked by moments of delicate beauty, including Loughman’s probing solo on “Action and Reaction.” Equally sensitive is alto saxophonist Rick Stone’s solo midway through the ballad “The Need for Essence.” Initially, this intimate passage is backed only by bass and mallet-driven drum tumbles and piano sound effects. Stone’s mellow tone also contributes to the trumpet-sax unison lines in the laid-back melody of “Gliding Away.”
Born in Italy and trained at the Berklee College of Music, Lattanzi should expect his profile to rise considerably from Multitude, which was recorded at the studio of Boston’s WGBH-FM.
View PDF of the original.
By David Dupont
Everything is in place for this session by a collective (Characteristic Pitches) of young players — with ringer trombonist Robin Eubanks sitting in on most numbers — playing a set of originals by drummer Lattanzi. Those compositions with ephemeral melodies provide intriguing frameworks to challenge the players, and everyone rises to the challenge, though it’s no surprise that Eubanks tends to rise a little higher with his robust style where even the spaces between notes resonate. But trumpeter Rosenthal, alto saxophonist Stone and pianist Kordis also fully engage the essence of Lattanzi’s work. And the rhythm section with bassist Loughman flows through the tunes’ structures and responds to the soloists. <Read More>
So what’s not to like? Nothing. What’s to love though? I kept putting this on because I expected to like it more after a strong first impression — those compositions and Eubanks, and to some extent Rosenthal’s probing chromatic lines — but I was left feeling more appreciative than moved. “So Many Puppets Around” realizes the promise most. It opens with a jaunty head that bounces back on itself. Eubanks is in typically fine form and the horns jump in with a tight figure leading into Stone’s acerbic spot. The piece closes with a reprise of that interlude figure. This recital is undeniably skillfully rendered.
View PDF of original.
Paolo Lattanzi, born in Macerata but now resident in Boston for a decade, unites — under the name of Characteristic Pitches — a group of musicians active in the Bostonian scene. This is Lattanzi’s second release as leader, composer and arranger and it presents the added value of featuring acclaimed trombonist Robin Eubanks who performs in eight of the eleven tracks in the recording. Mr. Eubanks mingles with the group and provides a perfect performance and an astounding interpretation of the leader’s scores. Thanks to the skillfully crafted arrangements, the sextet sounds impressively large – almost orchestral – and the compositions are complex and full of surprises, rich of ever-changing atmospheres, timbres and colors that redefine the language of the best mainstream jazz.
View PDF of original.
By Fabio Ciminiera
If there ever was a perfect name to represent this recording, ‘Multitude’ is certainly the right one: it sums up in one word the disc’s nearly eighty minutes of music and its wide outlook on jazz. In these eleven tunes, Paolo Lattanzi maintains focus on the ensemble sound, and to the big picture, using a variety of elements: compositional style, orchestral writing, a general sense of balance and attention to the arrangements.
The outcome is, to some degree, a synthesis of various seasons of jazz: it seems that Lattanzi is drawing a line that connects the blues, swing, elements of free jazz, different interpretations of bop, orchestrations, concepts introduced by certain composers and fusion articulation. A post modernist take on it all, if you will, where the tradition is embraced and re-elaborated to develop a new way of thinking. The vehicle that Lattanzi uses to reach this goal is an acoustic sextet ready to take on a “multitude” of stimulations — a line-up in many ways similar to Art Blakey’s famous Jazz Messengers. <Read More>
Given the solidity of the material and the consistent performance, this album might be taken as a unified suite. Lattanzi’s unique orchestral style is the central thread throughout ‘Multitude’, and also its narrative keystone. The way the instruments are organized allows the band to rearrange itself into modules, and to shift effortlessly between small combo and large ensemble. The individual musical personality of each member of the Characteristic Pitches, and Robin Eubanks’, adds further depth to the music. They all agree on the need for a general balance, which explains, to some degree, the sense of collectivity that permeates this recording.
Lattanzi’s design obviously includes plenty of space for the improvisation, and the solos become an opportunity for the six musicians to set out on explorations, inspired by the compositions’ rhythmic and structural characteristics as well as their dynamic shapes.
View PDF of original.
By Vincenzo Roggero
After a fine debut with Night Dancers, Paolo Lattanzi completely changes his quintet, drops all the “electric” elements of that disc and scores big time by gaining the backing of trombone superstar Robin Eubanks on seven of the eleven tracks in the recording. Wondering what the result is? Almost eighty minutes of solid acoustic modern-jazz in which the talents of all the musicians involved are put to the service of the common good. This recording confirms that the leader, born in Macerata (but a long time resident in Boston) does excel both as composer and arranger. <Read More>
It is in fact the arrangements to impress the most in Multitude. Even though the group operates on rigid structures and over well defined forms, the ever changing organization within the ensemble imparts a sense of motion, a great dynamic feel (due in part to the alternation of slow and fast paced tempos, and to the use of refined rhythmic “decompositions”), and a great deployment of colors to enrich the final outcome. This is music that actually gains its energies from its apparent restrictions, and uses that momentum to develop into unexpected and stimulating directions. Multitude at times possesses the richness and solemn stature of a soundtrack, other times it shifts gears to effuse a sweetness that is never tacky, like the reminiscence of a marine mist suffusing a nocturnal light.
Noteworthy is also Lattanzi’s ability to integrate Eubanks in the group without altering the spirit of the music: the ensemble switches between quintet and sextet without bumps, and the American trombonist sounds at ease in the compositional plots of the leader. Multitude is a solid disc that shows how it is possible to navigate the mainstream while staying away from the common place.
View PDF of original.
The band Characteristic Pitches, lead by Paolo Lattanzi, is a group of top Boston’s musicians specialized in contemporary music and united by the same musical views. Their aim is to produce music that encourages the listener to think and be engaged. “Modern Jazz” is a style that, as such, allows for a fair amount of diverse ideas: different musicians tend to present their own interpretation of this music when delivering their musical message.
Another way to call this band’s music could be “modern western music”. Lattanzi has sought to create a cohesive group of young musicians where every member is part of a whole. This intent is in part shown by his choice to not feature himself in the group’s name. The band’s name by itself in fact leads to a certain kind of reasoning: “musicians that work together in the same direction to produce creative ideas and develop new goals, seeking originality.” <Read More>
Lattanzi’s first album “Night Dancers” was a milestone in his career. Recorded right after graduating from Berklee College of Music, it was technically rich, skillfully arranged and played with knowledge and respect of the tradition. Stylistically it was especially sophisticated: the music was clearly defined by a series of harmonic and rhythmic inventions juxtaposed to a typically Italian emotional way to reason.
“Multitude” is Lattanzi’s second album as a group leader, and it is another Berklee College of Music’s full display of power. It picks up where he left with his first record and continues on the same line, a fine fine stylization.
In this new album Lattanzi features world renowned trombonists Robin Eubanks, who comes from a very musical family. Almost all of his relatives are in some way involved with music. He has developed into one of the most significant contemporary trombone players. He leads his own bands ‘EB 3’ and ‘Mental Images’; in addition, he also plays in the Dave Holland Quintet and with other major artists. He is also a composer and has recorded seven albums as band leader. Robin himself says that his style spans from swing to funk and latin, which gives him great freedom in his performances, combining different musical influences to new structures.
“Multitude” may be described a high level acoustic mainstream recording dressed in a new suit. The presentation of the music is clean, neatly arranged, edifying and flowing. It works as it should, and it surely has a good grip. In a way, it passes along a new path, avoiding schematic structures where the compositions and the solos follow each other routinely. Lattanzi headed towards new places, out of the beaten path, away from patterns, which — with his arrangements that naturally blend solos and compositions — creates a group entity.
He has the ability to “wave the baton” and lead the group forward in a dynamic way, and the other members in the band are committed to his artistic vision. Daniel Rosenthal’s trumpet sounds absolutely splendid; alto saxophonist Rick Stone blows a light airy tone, Lefteris Kordis has a delicate touch on the piano and Greg Loughman offers a stylish rhythm on the double bass.
It looks like there is a sincere effort in this record to search for some sort of perfect musical ripeness. I can not assess whether it has been found or not, the tunes in the disc are “perfectly juicy, tastefully implemented and streamlined” but somehow I do not run into a state of euphoria while listening to this, I miss something extra. I would love to hear this music live.
View PDF or original.
Paolo Lattanzi’s new work, published three years after the excellent Night Dancers, is released again by Silta Records: Giorgio Dini’s daring label.
The Italian drummer, now relocated to the US, put together a new group of musicians who come from that immense forge of talents that is America. Among them we find special guest trombonist Robin Eubanks, a regular member of Dave Holland’s quintet.
The level here is very high, both in terms of solos and compositions, the latter all written by the leader. Lattanzi has an innate maturity in guiding the group, in developing the dynamics of the solos and of the ensemble sections, in choosing the “colors” and the musicians who perform pieces that seem tailored around their individual personalities, discovered track after track. Excellent, for instance, is trumpeter Daniel Rosenthal’s illuminating “The Transversality of Thoughts”; he is just one of these outstanding musicians working in the role of sidemen, wisely led by “Lattanzi’s sticks”! Alongside the aforementioned, we find Rick Stone at the alto sax, pianist Lefteris Kordis and bassist Greg Loughman. <Read More>
Lattanzi’s modern mainstream takes an original path that avoids the routine structure of theme-solo-theme. He deliberately chooses the path of collective playing, group sound, and performances that never get out of hand. This recording naturally finds its place among the best of this genre in the international scene: at his second release Lattanzi seems to have reached full maturity. We only hope that we won’t have to cross the ocean in order to see them live!
The comparison with the best artists of this genre in the international scene comes through naturally: with his second release Lattanzi seems to have reached full maturity. We only hope that we won’t have to cross the ocean in order to see them live!
View PDF of original.
By Andrea Valiante and Fabrizio Ciccarelli
Three years after the release of ‘Night Dancers’ (Silta Records – 2006), Italian drummer and composer Paolo Lattanzi (who has been living in Boston for years) continues his journey on this record label with a new interesting project: a high level live-in-the-studio that travels on the same philosophical wavelength of Giorgio Dini’s label.
In this recording, the drummer is once again bandleader as well as composer and arranger of all the tunes. The disc boasts the prestigious participation of trombonist Robin Eubanks who appears in seven of the eleven tracks. He is among the best trombonists on the American scene and a member of Dave Holland Quintet. <Read More>
The complex sound that is produced by the fluid and lively interplay of these musicians is hardly defined by a single genre: it ranges from bop to the mainstream, but it also touches the sonorities of Miles Davis in the 60’s — even though modernized and re-elaborated with an innovative and energized harmonic base. Recorded live in Boston, the project seems to feel the influence of that specific cultural area of the United States, so famous for its diverse and active jazz scene.
Right from the beginning, with the opening track ‘Illusions’, the listener is introduced to complex arrangements and an intense dialogue that will continue for the rest of the disc. Eubanks shapes fluid technical excursions in a restless duet with Rick Stone’s saxophone, while the solid rhythms of the drums and Loughman’s bass provide a strong supporting foundation. Constantly working throughout, Kordis’ piano takes the lead in a darting and robust solo that peaks on a counterpointed finale where Lattanzi shows some vigorous drumming.
‘Action and Reaction’ follows the same idea, it’s a tune propelled by the band’s desire to experiment and progress: a statement of the musicians’ intent to put all their creative juices into the music.
‘The Transversality of Thoughts’ works as a resting place, and brings us back to more solid grounds when, after an involved interplay between sax and trumpet, Rosenthal takes on the main theme with vibrant virtuosity. In ‘A White Page’ it is Kordis to take the lead and firmly drive his piano, and the group, from a relaxed introduction to a fiery peak.
‘The Need for Essence’ takes us through various landscapes; through “earthy and sour” themes with a tense but delicate quality, and a lightness that makes the tune sound “essential” in its atmosphere. The closing track ‘Common Nonsense’ is, again, shaped by a complex dialogue between the horns and the rhythm section. Once again Kordis is the only one, together with Lattanzi, to be present at all times — working at the base and designing some greatly convincing musical episodes.
This recording is an excellent compositional and improvisational work in which — striking a fine balance between “experimentation and philology” — this ensemble finds a way to produce a refined and vibrant sound that feels fresh and intellectual at the same time. It is also evident that these musicians can plunge into a deep explorative trip without ever losing their relationship with the main theme, managing to manipulate the harmonic structures without disconnecting, musically, from the composition and its personality.
This work bears a heavy artistic weight. The music reaches its best especially when the group performs the most radical improvisations: the interplay and the sonority that is produced in these moments, projects the music out of the tradition, where it gains “outer qualities”. And yet the music keeps going, surprisingly coherent.
Paolo Lattanzi proves his remarkable technical and rhythmical skills, directing and supporting the band; maturely leading the way of a quintet whose outstanding capabilities are really quite indisputable.
View PDF of original.
February 27th 2010
by Paolo Cruciani
Characteristic Pitches is the name of the new group created by Italian born drummer and composer Paolo Lattanzi, who relocated to the States years ago. Here at Kathodik we have already talked about his excellent debut album “Night Dancers” (2006) and at that time we wished for more to come; well, his next recording has arrived, and it does meet our expectations. With a new sextet enhanced for the occasion by the participation of Robin Eubanks, who plays in seven of the eleven tracks, Lattanzi (composer of all the tunes) presents us with a new disc, ‘Multitude’, which sounds at the same time forceful, elegant and sophisticated.
Besides the leader on drums and Eubanks on trombone, the group is composed of remarkable musicians, namely, trumpeter Daniel Rosenthal, saxophonist Rick Stone, pianist Lefteris Kordis and bassist Greg Loughman. Placing the sound of this album in a precise category is a hard task: one may define it modern mainstream (mainstream, I will never get tired to say, NEVER lets you down) with various facets and excursions. <Read More>
It all starts with Illusions, where Eubanks makes a huge statement soaring high with the first solo of the record; The Transversality of Thoughts starts off with a clean dialogue between trumpet and alto sax, they eventually get together and expose the beautiful them in unison and after a brief pianistic interlude it is time for the excellent Rosenthal to take the lead making the heart of the tune pulsate with a great solo; the intriguing and refined pulse of Action and Reaction, which alternates a bar in 3/4 to a bar in 4/4, is reminiscent of some pioneering experimentations by Dave Brubeck or the marvelous Two Kinds of Blues by Jimmy Giuffre’s trio; Out There (On The Streets) is dashed with lyric moments and a occasional “Milesian” flavors. Sustained by a beautifully open and suspended piano phrase, Eubanks’ twisting and mumbling solo is surprisingly followed by a quite unexpected free ending; A White Page (perhaps a conceptual answer to Zappa’s Black Page?) is introduced by single piano notes lightly sustained by a rarefied bass, together with Lattanzi on drums the three are the central characters until the end, when they are joined by the horns; next tracks are Neglected Potential, the unrestrained bop tune that features an alto solo a la Parker, and the long The Need for Essence, which keeps faith to its name and plunges into a profound philosophical meditation: long notes, tension and peacefulness, pivots, caesuras, silences and accents; Slowly is the ideal continuation with the horn section in the front line; Gliding Away does not disturb the refined nocturnal mood established by the two preceding tracks and leaves the job to the angular and Dionysian So Many Puppets Around where the leader’s imaginative and effective drumming takes the soloists through an implacable series of reckless turns; Common Nonsense closes the set and takes us back on the main road thanks to a light, but driving beat.
This is definitely a fine recording, a long ride, a great travel companion for an infinite route to take on a convertible, under the sun or the stars, no stop.
View PDF of original.
By Pier Luigi Zanzi
Artistic Vote: 8
Technical Vote: 8
Noteworthy new work from drummer Paolo Lattanzi, Italian by birth but a long time US resident, whom put together – and lets walk on its own – a valuable musical project that sounds good in several ways. The music and the compositional efforts were conceived for quintet, but the album features the addition of acclaimed trombonist Robin Eubanks; the guest may be known by many for his works with Dave Holland (and most probably appreciated for it).
The other musicians (Daniel Rosenthal on trumpet, Rick Stone on the alto sax, Lefteris Kordis on piano and Greg Loughman on double bass) provide a significant contribution, allowing the music to sound cohesive and solid, formal and elegant but also spontaneous and vigorous. <Read More>
These original compositions successfully blur the boundaries that divide arranged sections and improvised excursions (an objective openly declared by the composer), this creates quite a musical statement which carries elements of modern jazz mainstream without resorting on the ordinary or on unnecessary technical licks. Eubanks’ masterful performance doesn’t get in the way of the cohesive ensemble playing; he rather blends with the band and cooperates to the success of this recording as a true member of the ensemble. Great ensemble playing, great sound quality.
View PDF of original.
An illustrious guest in Paolo Lattanzi’s new recording.
A new cd for Paolo Lattanzi, a young Macerata-born drummer and composer relocated to the Usa. After his debut with “Night Dancers” the musician presents “Multitude” with the “Characteristic Pitches”, introducing a new group and an original repertoire. The captivating and creative arrangements emphasize the improvisational capabilities of this sextet, enriched by the participation of renowned trombonist Robin Eubanks, known by many as a member of Dave Holland’s quintet.
«The improvisation – explains Lattanzi – doesn’t always adopt the same role in jazz. Depending on the style its importance can vary significantly. In some cases the theme is stated briefly and the improvisation covers the main role. I think that the composition should have a strong character and that the improvisation, on the contrary, should be as spontaneous as possible. Robin Eubanks’ participation was an exciting turn that took place only a couple of weeks prior to the recording date». Recorded in Boston, “Multitude” is published by Silta Records and distributed by Ird.
View PDF of original.
After a first exciting high from leadership with “Night Dancers”, the globetrotter known as Paolo Lattanzi is back with a new batch of shimmering luxurious modern jazz tunes.
In “Multitude” there is a clear new interest in a collective effort, starting with the choice not to credit the group’s name personally but with the decision to call it Characteristic Pitches, a statement that reflects the equal musical interaction of the musicians.
Made a step away from the concept of centralized identities, the new recording expands the beloved quintet setting with the inclusion in seven of the eleven tracks of guest trombonist Robin Eubanks, a specialist of the mainstream, aesthetically at the heights of Phil Ranelin. The core group is formed by the dynamic Daniel Rosenthal at the trumpet, the “Dolphi-an” Rick Stone on the alto sax, the multi faceted pianist Lefteris Kordis, and the groovy Greg Loughman on bass and Paolo Lattanzi on the drums. Since the guitar and organ are not featured here, the smoky-bluesy, electric, fusion-ish sounds of the first album are replaced by a completely acoustic setting. <Read More>
The choral brilliance of Illusions grow in intensity until Eubank’s deep tone takes the scene, soon to be followed by a crystalline “tongue twister” unleashed by Kordis on the keys; blue-night is the atmosphere in The Transversality of Thoughts, romantic jazz where Kordis once again dissolves his soul in gentle solos that precede a sophisticated journey taken by the trumpet, slightly colored with the use of vibrato; congruent with the title Action and Reaction walks boldly between collective lines and little individual statements and, in the ending, a concealed sandy exuberance, charge with an exotic energy that brings to mind master Creed Taylor; even though the CTI man seemingly inspired the hard bop phrasing of Out There… and Neglected Potential, A White Page chooses without glossiness a classical path that borders with Bach; lyricism and layered horn lines are the central elements of the longest of the tracks, The Need for Essence, a meditated balance act of Lattanzi’s arranging skills that after a mellow start develops into a deliberately modern piece through the use certain types of counterpoint and syncopation; with Slowly speaking of a Coleman inspired chanted lament would not be inappropriate, the memory goes back to a masterpiece like Lonely Woman; the quiet atmosphere of Gliding Away works as a resting point before the energy is risen again for the grand final in So Many Puppets Around and Common Nonsense.
Even though the style has changed, Lattanzi’s poetry takes us again on a journey over two binaries in coherent balance between tradition and modernity.
View PDF of original.
'Night Dancers' by the Paolo Lattanzi Group
An Italian label, musicians from four European nations but of American education and experiences and jazz in its modern mainstream variation as Esperanto: this all constitutes the global alchemy in which Paolo Lattanzi Group’s first album is rooted. The five members share a solid technique and control of the languages (not for nothing they all studied at Berklee College of Music in Boston) and play without overdoing, always aware of their possibilities, moving agilely and effortlessly over different rhythmic and harmonic grounds. <Read More>
The result is a set of accurate performances that, despite appearing at times scholastic and excessively careful about staying in the harmonic structures, are always inspired and full of colors and evocations, pleasantly in balance between the acid and fluctuating Budynek and the excellent Moiseenko, flamboyant and direct.
Lattanzi, leader and composer of all the tracks doesn’t reserve any privileged spots for himself, on the contrary he moves with great balance and regard to the form and displays a mature drumming and an intense, original creative vein. There is full potential here for a bright future.
View PDF of original.
By Fabio Ciminiera
Night Dancers is an interesting mix of tradition, groove and experimentation. First of all the setup of the group: an ensemble composed of musicians coming from different geographic backgrounds, but all characterized by a significant linguistic and instrumental openness; then the combination of the soloing instruments, sax, guitar and piano, to which other colors are added by the organ and the fretless guitar. Night Dancers meets the tradition filtering it through contingent and necessary elements.
The quintet gets together in America where the five individuals studied at the Berklee College of Music. You can recognize each different language, five styles that blend together with the language of the tradition, as it developed in the US. The intention to unify the swing with a more aggressive rhythmic idea is clearly hearable: an intent to create a groove by picking rhythmic concepts from different sources. On this purpose the contribution of bassist Marco Panascia is significant, on upright and electric basses, shifting from pulsating to lyrical depending on the circumstances. <Read More>
The fact that the group is led by a drummer is highlighted by the choice to play around, whenever it is possible, with time and rhythm, focusing especially on meter changes. Otherwise the drummer rarely seeks to emerge from the rest of the band (maybe with the exception of the end of In a Dark Room) and performs as a measured bandleader. The compositions proposed by Paolo Lattanzi coherently explore different fields, from the ballad and the mid-tempo up to faster paces, and offer a good setting for the solos and the different ideas of the soloists.
The interesting mix I mentioned is also found in the compositions (obviously) and the order of the tunes on the disc. Let’s consider May, the tune that closes the work: a visionary guitar and saxophone unison, with the organ in the background to add an extra degree of psychedelics… but there are different feelings following each other in the course of this disc, they chase one another in the same track with sudden, although logic, changes. Other times they develop through a well distributed growth of the various elements in the music.
Lattanzi’s singular approach to composing, ready to follow different inspirations and to handle different situations, emerges with the more reflective tunes, where he locates the elements in a particularly measured fashion and successfully gives breath to the different sections of the composition as well as to the voices of the soloists.
About the interplay of the three soloists, finally: a particularly significant aspect of the CD is the creation of the sound that Nikolay Moiseenko, Aurelién Budynek and Pau Terol create with the use of their instruments. Each individual “pronunciation” of the jazz language brings to light both their background and their experience in the United States.
The different combinations of instruments, the acoustic, semi-acoustic or electric setups, respond to the needs of the composition and to the individual expressive necessities of the three. Besides (and considered the presence of a guitar and a piano this could sound paradoxical) the harmonies are often suggested more than stated: Lattanzi’s writing uses the three instruments as they were exclusively soloists. The harmonies are often constructed thanks to the participation of the whole group.
The work done on the sounds by the five musicians, especially in the electric version, shows a commitment to the several traditions and to the multiple musical stories that developed in the twentieth century. Their idea puts in relation different uses of various instruments and the five stories of the musicians.
You can sense specific influences and inspirations in these compositions and in the way the band plays, but this is not the point in Night Dancers. Paolo Lattanzi Group shows a discrete, never exceeding, intention to explore a personal ground, without overdoing in the attempt of being original, never employing useless clichés. Lattanzi and his musicians praise the tradition – the swing, the necessity of a ballad, the pleasure to express themselves through the jazz idiom – but they also naturally add other atypical elements.
A particularity of the album is the long rest (almost twenty seconds long) that separates the fifth track from the sixth, in the middle of the CD. Maybe it is a coincidence; maybe it recalls the aesthetics of the vinyl, with the separation between the two faces of the disc…
View PDF of original.
By Dr. Ana Isabel Ordonez
Night Dancers is all about swing, soul and celebration. The compositions aren’t standard quotations but gems of bold creation. Chording with some fine cats: Nikolay Moiseenko (alto & soprano saxophones), Marco Panascia (acoustic & electric basses), Aurelien Budynek (nylon string, & electric & fretless guitars) and Pau Terol (piano & organ), Lattanzi has crafted ten opuses that come up to an amazing firepower with this band combination. A melodic pace directs the flow and imparts a musical purpose, yet this quintet unties their muse. Paolo Lattanzi’s compositions reflect an established process, forsaking a large knowledge for a more strongly knit traditional set with a few extra wonders. <Read More>
Swarming highlights with knack on tracks such as “Other Lands”, “In a Dark Room”, Fairy Tales to a Child”, “Night Dancers”, and “Four Years Gone” reveals the peach encompassed in here. Through changeable federations of manner and flush, Lattanzi’s drums and Panascia and Budinek’s electric strings lay down the fashion for Moiseenko and Terol. A resourceful Moiseenko totally sways his reeds, unbarring each track with notes that overflow in succession like a curb-drifting path.
Advent to this a number of graceful unison lines that retell themes with Panascia and Budynek roving down, Terol emerges from stretched hues to grasp the lead. His piano plays easily with unrestrained tone. Panascia and Budynek are really the mucilage throughout the release. Both serve the pulse or passed-pulse of a tune. Often carting phrases and grooves and giving a counterpoint to the reeds, Panascia and Budynek are vehement on both the acoustic and electric strings, working as a forceful mainstay.
The release flows throughout with many colors, like the boppy “In a Dark Room” and the dance-like baseline of “Night Dancers” (with amazing reed/piano rowing aforesaid). And of course there are the divine minutes of plummeting, like on “14/2,” where Panascia works his way up his arc to a blistering solo, leading the way for Budynek and Lattanzi to hop into Lanzatti’s personal percussive solo. But the key to Night Dancer is that it conveys an identity. Whether sternly written and/or moving in all directions in between, the album withholds an identity which is built by its combined spirit. Recommended.
View PDF of original.
By Ian Mann
This latest release from the excellent Italian label Silta features the thoughtful compositions of drummer Paolo Lattanzi in a selection of intriguing original pieces. The album was recorded in Massachusetts and I suspect that Lattanzi is now actually based in the USA and is/was a student at the famous Berklee College of Music in Boston.
Lattanzi leads a quintet featuring Nikolay Moiseenko on alto and soprano saxes, Aurelien Budynek on guitar, Pau Terol on piano and organ plus Marco Panascia on acoustic and electric basses. There is some fine ensemble playing from the group throughout the album and some fine soloing from the individual members in a well-balanced programme. <Read More>
The opening “Cicerchi’s Wanderlust” features the meaty, resonant tones of Panascia’s double bass in it’s opening bars and is a feature for both him and the talented pianist Pau Terol. Taken at medium tempo this is an excellent start.
“Just A Story” is more angular and funky and serves as a vehicle for Moiseenko’s dry biting alto. Lattanzi’s drums give dynamic support without resorting to the obvious rhythms.
14/2 is a ballad with dark edges. Panascia’s rich arco bass is followed by Budynek’s taut acoustic guitar. Moiseenko’s keening soprano weaves in and out of the piece and Lattanzi’s economic support and light cymbal touch show the subtle side of his playing.
“In A Dark Room” is less distinctive than what has gone before .It is a little too close to slick seventies style fusion for comfort with it’s smooth alto licks, electric bass and funk rhythms. However, it changes tempo in the middle of the piece and Lattanzi provides an interesting interlude led by the drums.
“When It Doesn’t Matter” is a return to ballad mode with Terol’s beautiful acoustic piano introduction emphasising the importance of the space between the notes.
Budynek’s relaxed unhurried guitar probings are true to the mood of the piece and Lattanzi’s delicate brushwork and Panascia’s low register bass add appropriate support. Moiseenko again slides in and out of the proceedings providing necessary punctuation and sometimes taking up the melody line.
“Other Lands” is as exotic and adventurous as it’s title would suggest. Terol takes a wry, slyly funky acoustic piano solo before Budynek takes the chance to rock out on electric guitar. Utilising unusual effects and signatures this is one of the outstanding solos on the album. Lattanzi and Panascia give excellent support, blending muscularity with subtlety.
The shifting metres of the title track provide an attractive showcase for Budynek and Moiseenko as the rhythm players wrestle with the complexities of the piece. However for the listener it’s a relaxing and pleasurable experience.
“Four Years Gone” is a brief vignette but the quintet fit a lot into a minute and a half! There is an attractive melody courtesy of Moiseenko and some great ensemble playing from the rest of the group.
The episodic “Fairy Tales To A Child” is arguably the album’s outstanding composition .It builds slowly in intensity through solos by Terol, Budynek, Moiseenko and Panascia. There is a shifting, cinematic quality to the music that maintains the attention.
The closing “May” has something of a blues feel with Terol on organ. However, it goes through more dynamic and stylistic changes than the average blues. Budynek once again cranks up his guitar and is the main soloist, again showing his rock influences. Lattanzi drums up a storm behind him. Moiseenko’s solo is more laid back but saxophone and guitar finally coalesce to bring the tune and the album to a rousing conclusion. “May” is one of the album’s better tunes and something of a live favourite one would imagine.
Taken as a whole this is a very promising debut album from Lattanzi. His compositions are always interesting and cover a wide stylistic and dynamic range.
The playing by all members of the group is of a uniformly high standard with Budynek and Panascia both catching the ear as distinctive soloists. Lattanzi himself is a fine drummer but Terol and Moiseenko sometimes become rather anonymous. Occasionally things can sound a little too dry and academic – and the group don’t always catch fire – but experience should spark that inspired looseness that paradoxically makes for the best jazz. There is considerable ability here and much potential for the future.
Silta Records: SR 0603
View PDF of original.
Paolo Lattanzi Group | Silta Records
By Vincenzo Roggero
A French guitarist, a Russian saxophonist, a Spanish pianist, an Italian bassist as well as the drummer and leader, a day of recording at the famed Rear Window Studio in Brookline, the attention of Silta Records and there you have Night Dancers, first release of Paolo Lattanzi Group. Wonders of the recording industry globalization? Not at all, it is simply the power of Berklee College of Music, the legendary sanctuary of jazz which witnessed the meeting of these musicians but, most of all, their desire to leave a sign of the artistically happy moment they are living at such an early stage of their career. <Read More>
Nigh Dancers bears Berklee’s trademark: a great technical facility, respect and knowledge of the tradition, mastery of the stylistic languages with a preference to the modern mainstream, a focus on the form that results in tunes with a well defined harmonic and rhythmic structure.
Night Dancers, however, has an extra merit: a typically Italian innate predisposition to melody that characterizes the whole recording. This can be heard not only in tracks of painful beauty such as “14/2”, of veiled melancholy like “When it Doesn’t Matter” or rich in suggestions like the title track, but also in those that are distinguished by a more active and articulate rhythmic approach.
Paolo Lattanzi, additionally, is capable of rearranging the settings of the disc at times as standard acoustic jazz, at times as an electric jazz that is never predictable, supported by a unique attention to the arrangements and the interpretation of the music.
View PDF of original.
Paolo Lattanzi Group
Jazz / **** (4 stars out of 5)
By Gianpaolo Chiriacò
Smooth, broad, focused as well as carefree, rich of colors and evocations: the repertoire in Night Dancers offers a complete panoramic view of all the possible variants of the theme “melodic line plus improvisation”. Paolo Lattanzi’s group is young (although you wouldn’t expect it), polyglot, rampant (in a good way), omnivorous. <Read More>
View PDF of original
Paolo Lattanzi Group
Night Dancers (CD Silta)
Italian drummer Paolo Lattanzi leads his sophisticated ensemble through focused, ornately performed original compositions. The recording quality on Night Dancers is very impressive and unlike some percussionist bandleaders, Lattanzi gives the quintet much space to explore. The percolating “In a Dark Room” shows his strength at laying down uptempo grooves, while “14/2” features beautiful piano chord clusters.
View PDF of original.
This CD is a production of European musicians who met in the US, where this recording has been made. Lattanzi’s (29) colleagues obviously attended Berklee School, but he also would like to inform us that the pictures of the booklet have been taken at MIT.
The music has been composed by the leader himself, and should not be underestimated. We hear pulsing melodies, but if on one side the support from the band is bringing us to consider the arrangements less important, on the other the rhythms’ diversification is an advantage. “14/2” seems to remind a Finnish melody. There’s a reminiscence of the acoustic atmosphere of the Jazz tradition and a sound that recalls the summer at Jyvaskyla in 1969, meaning: Sarmanto, Aaltonen, Pethman… <Read More>
These artists have the same class of the finish musicians we just mentioned, and the international endeavour gives this recording further enrichment and more taste to its sound.
Berklee’s influence works as a commonplace, but the sound is multicultural, due to Catalan, Russian and Italian presences. Frenchman Budynek’s guitar sounds a bit in an old blues/fusion style, just like if Eric Clapton had correctly and surprisingly practiced for a couple of years. Moiseenko seems to be referring to the dark Pekka Poyri.
We have now reached the end of the CD, which displays power but also sentiment, with inspired performances, and a neo-bop and fusion atmosphere.
View PDF of original.
by Cosimo Parisi
Vote: 4 out of 5
The first release of this young band led by Italian drummer Paolo Lattanzi is a real impressive one, with a surprising force wave, thanks to the maturity of the artistic concept fixed on the disc. It is a multinational group in which together with Italian bassist Marco Panascia we find the Spaniard Pau Terol on piano and keys, French Aurelien Budynek on guitars and Russian Nikolay Moiseenko on alto and soprano saxophones. They all come from the Berklee College of Music in Boston and show, as if it was needed, that it is possible to achieve great levels only by studying. <Read More>
The music of the young drummer is characterized by a good rhythmic charge rooted in what today is considered modern jazz, with its bop cadences and suffused with dashes of electric sounds provided with diligence by Budynek’s guitars and, when he is called on it, by Panascia’s electric bass. A couple of tunes are memorable, like “Just a Story” with Russian saxophonist Nikolay Moiseenko playing a la Kenny Garrett (one of the most interesting saxophonists of the last generation) with great proficiency, able to accelerate and slow down his stream of notes in a genial way, at will, telling a story rich of rests and suggestive moments, with a dramatic voice and an overall fierceness.
Lattanzi’s compositions are all successful, showing his preparation at all levels. The general impression left by this album is that of a group of veterans, ended up by mistake in a label interested in some contemporary developments like Giorgio Dini’s. On the contrary they are newcomers and release one of the most interesting works of this year for what concerns Italian jazz.
View PDF of original.
Wednesday 22 November 2006
Paolo Lattanzi, Jazz star in the States
By MAURO MONTALI
«FORTUNATELY my family supported me, without them I wouldn’t have left Macerata». On the contrary, Paolo Lattanzi, 29 years old, is now in Boston , United States, where he leads his “Paolo Lattanzi Group” joined by other four musicians of different nationalities. The challenge was won altogether. Paolo is about to become an internationally acclaimed jazz artist. He and his group have recorded a CD called Night Dancers, published by “Silta Records”, which in just weeks will be presented live in all America’s major cities. <Read More>
We can imagine the happiness of his family and friends, who have been following Lattanzi’s career (which we all wish will be luminous) from the beginning. He fell in love with music and America, our Paolo. A college called Berklee, Massachusetts, his studies and the discovery of jazz. His heart was oriented towards rock music but soon jazz, which in Italy is still not as appreciated as it should, got into his head and soul. Four other “bad boys” followed him: Nikolay Moiseenko, Aurelien Budynek, Pau Terol and Marco Panascia.
Being such an experienced musician, the young drummer from Macerata leads his quintet with great elegance and shows, in “Night Dancers”, all his virtues of refined instrumentalist in a well conceived repertoire. Director of Jazz Composition at Berklee, Ken Pullig, speaking of him and his group says: «This is an exciting first effort from these talented musicians. Whether you like dark introspective modality, a lyric ballad, or flying fingers “burn”, just sit back and enjoy».
Look out for this CD, then, and listen to it in meditation, as jazz demands, perhaps with a good aged whiskey in your hand. Macerata is a land of music and Paolo Lattanzi is one of its preferred sons. We look forward to seeing him performing at the Sferisterio as soon as possible.
View PDF or original.
November 8th 2007
By Paolo Cruciani
‘Night Dancers’ is the debut album of a multinational quintet lead by Italian drummer Paolo Lattanzi, whom, besides being an excellent instrumentalist, is the composer of all the tunes in the recording. His band mates are Italian bass player Marco Panascia, Spaniard pianist Pau Terol, French guitarist Aurelien Budynek and Russian saxophonist Nikolay Moiseenko. All these musicians are alumni of the prestigious Berklee School of Music, which explains their absolute academic preparation and proficiency on their instruments.
The recording begins with Cicerchì’s Wanderlust. After a bass intro, the main theme is exposed by the sax. Unexpectedly, it is not the horn to take the lead with the first improvised episode of the album, instead, it is the double bass to step forward and engage in a fluid and cohesive solo, supported by a “pointillist” piano. This is doubtlessly an unusual decision deliberately made to strike the listener’s attention. <Read More>
Just A Story is introduced by a groovy and peremptory ostinato, while Moiseenko’s sax draws vigorous arabesque lines in between of jazz and rhythm’n’blues.
Perhaps one of the best moments in the album is the dreamy 14/2: a smoky ballad whose shadowy quality is enhanced by the bass played with the bow. Long, sustained notes are followed by the entrance of the guitar, and suddenly the music becomes more intense, with the leader’s percussiveness to build up the energy until it all dissolves into the main theme and the ending, directed by the soprano sax.
Contrarily to what one may expect from the title, In A Dark Room has an unpredicted jazz-rock flavor a la Brand X; perhaps a mannered — although logical — way to continue in the disc’s track list. Noteworthy is Moiseenko’s alto sax as it opens the way to Lattanzi’s well designed solo, supported by Panascia’s “bubbling” bass.
When It Doesn’t Matter is another crepuscular and poised episode. Piano and guitar share the duties in exposing the theme, until the sax takes charge. There is no question that this group knows how to move tastefully and elegantly in slow tempos. The ballad is followed by Other Lands, and its original and curvy groove. Following the theme, exposed by the sax, the piano takes on a vibrant and melodic solo. Subsequently, a mischievous electric guitar composedly teases the listener, with a tasteful distortion. The title track is another ballad, the alto exposes the theme and is soon followed by a strongly bluesy guitar, which in turn leaves space to the sax again, this time sustained more intensely by the drums in 4/4.
The extremely concise Four Years Gone is another ballad, with a singing sax, mildly energized by the cymbals in the end. A dramatic bass groove introduces the impressionistic Fairy Tales To A Child and its “pleasantly brushed watercolors”. The track works as a showcase for all soloists, who follow each other in perfect balance. Balance seems in fact to be this group’s forte. Around the middle, the tune climaxes, just like the plot of a fairy tale, thanks to the soprano and the drums. Then the bass steps forward, easing all tensions, and it is time for the ending theme. This is quite a beautiful composition.
The disc ends with May, introduced by a martial, pulsating bass, and a counterpointing guitar. Soon the music opens to a dreamy sax departure, then, once again, the guitar takes the lead with a sharp and slightly distorted tone: a rock-ish solo (even though I should say modern jazz) that ends in a series of glissandi, allowing the sax to jump in and, together with the drums, take the tune — and the recording — to the finale. This is a disc that in between of modern mainstream mannerisms and surprising melodic-harmonic creations, combined with a taste for the arrangements that I would define perfect to say the least, poses itself as an excellent debut of a group from which we are already awaiting for more.
View PDF of original.
Paolo Lattanzi is a young musician from Macerata (class 1977), who has moved to Boston a few years ago and obtained a diploma at Berklee majoring in Parformance.
A gifted, particularly versatile drummer, he studied arranging and the ten tunes in the CD are all written by himself. This is an interesting disc for several reasons. First of all it allows us to discover this talented musician from our country, which wouldn’t be as easy since he lives in the USA. Secondly with this we get to know other very good and exciting musicians. Starting with Nikolay Moissenko (soprano and alto saxes – I prefer him on the latter), guitarist Aurelien Budynek (beautiful solo on “24/2”), pianist Pau Terol and bassist Marco Panascia. <Read More>
The Group is at ease even through difficult time signatures as in “In a Dark Room” (excellent sax solo, where it is evident that Nikolay is paying a tribute to the great master Michael Brecker). They show great interplay, listening to each other and exchanging ideas, supporting the music without overplaying. In fact they manage to generate gentle and silky atmospheres (see “When it Doesn’t Matter”), they have fun challenging each other on different tempos and display excellent technique.
This promising debut album for Paolo Lattanzi as band leader makes us discover this gifted musician who projects himself outside the boundaries of traditional jazz. Diverse musical influences (from Led Zeppelin to Metheny) have marked the drummer’s growth and more evidently the composer’s one. Like many drummers he doesn’t love to stay for too long on the most usual time signatures, but that’s no affliction to the listener, on the contrary, it is an added value.
Most of the melodies are catchy and laid back with, at times, an Arabic or Balkan flavor and are always well performed by the leading musician (often times Nikolay).
The album was released in 2006 by Giorgio Dini’s Silta Records (http://www.siltarecords.it)
More information about Lattanzi on https://www.paololattanzi.com
View PDF of original.
By Sergio Eletto
By choosing “Night Dancers” drummer/composer Paolo Lattanzi defines at best the title, or better, the “spirit” of his first work as leader, a full length album blossomed after years in the ranks, from multi-colored experiences (musical and not) that led him to the States.
Lattanzi’s quintet, appositely fashioned for this project, lets its soul loose, releasing joy, meaningful melodies, ingeniousness and technical skills in a colorful mixture rooted in the tradition as much as in modernism, stylish jazz that sparkles like champagne. The quintet begins its recording journey in the fall of ’05. A symmetrical balance act between melody and avant-garde that features for the first time together saxophonist Nikolay Moiseenko – alto and soprano – guitarist Aurelien Budynek, pianist Pau Terol– piano and organ – bassist Marco Panascia – on both the electric and acoustic spheres – and Paolo Lattanzi, featured not only as the drummer, but also engaged at all levels in the complex role of director of the dances… mature and sharp, brightly sweet and infinitely poetic. <Read More>
Ken Pullig’s thoughts about “Night Dancers” are a perfect way to describe Lattanzi’s verve. He advocates the importance of this first work, suggesting the listener not to compare these ten compositions to some petty background music, because besides being unfair it would prevent you from experiencing it with the right degree of awareness. The appropriate listening here, hugged by solar beams of improvisation, will provide a gratification that is light years away from the typical trendy lounge’s and its frivolous harmonies and/or melodies.
This is heavy stuff!!
If you love Miles Davis in between of jazz and electric savoir fare, Bird at his best, Trane’s spiritual rhythm and the avant-garde adventures of the “hot” North Europe and Paul Motian just push your ears in the subterranean laboratory hidden inside these “nocturnal ballads”, well suited to embrace the sunset, and the discovery of our thoughts and the deepest areas of our minds… thoughtful jazz meditations in an encounter of fuzzy notes…
… never forgotten …
View PDF of original.
By Federico Scoppio | Music Quality 7.5/10 | Technique: 8/10
Speaking of brain drain in Italy, it is a pity for us, but it seems safe to say that it is good for him: Paolo Lattanzi, class 1977 from Macerata, operates in Boston. He presents a quintet that runs in that city of the United States, whose jazz scene we Italians don’t know much about. It looks like it is quite lively and busy, though, or that’s what is suggested by Lattanzi’s quintet: Nikolay Moiseenko on alto and soprano saxes, Aurelien Budynek on guitars, Pau Terol on piano and organ and Marco Panascia on upright and electric basses. An excellent instrumental conversation rich in melodic flavors dominates their sound while the solid and imaginative rhythms, at times sweet and swinging, at times harsh and rocking, produce an intense feeling. <Read More>
The group effectively expresses through their notes a path that crosses styles and genres. The leader shows an uncommon energy, a noble communicativeness and abundant expressivity both as performer and composer: his drumming projects a Chinese box of sounds and connections, free ideas caught and developed thanks to an incredible preparation. It seems that his musical and cultural backgrounds are wide, stretching in every direction with no strict geographic order: north and south get mixed in the compass.
A way to know more about Boston and another reason to feel sorry about our brain drain.
View PDF of original.