Bernardo Sassetti – Unreal: Sidewalk Cartoon (CF 070)
The music on Unreal forms a mysterious soundtrack. After reading the part of the liner notes that were translated into English, the general story is still very unclear to me (a lot gets lost in translation) but fortunately the music mostly stands well by itself. Pianist-composer Bernard Sassetti used many musicians on this project although not all at one time. Two pieces utilize a percussion section filled with marimbas, vibes, xylophones and percussive instruments, and four woodwinds and a French horn are used on seven other numbers with two of those pieces also adding four saxophonists. Along the way altoist Perico Sambeat gets a little bit of solo space and Sergio Carolino’s tuba is important in some of the ensembles. Many moods (some of them quite dark) are explored and the ensembles range from very dense to Sassetti’s thoughtful solo piano. Thelonious Monk’s “Evidence” is included almost as comic relief before the mood switches again. This music seems inscrutable at first but becomes more accessible with each listen and the overall results are worthwhile and worth exploring.