Ottaviano | Gallo | Faraò

Roberto Ottaviano  soprano sax | Danilo Gallo  double bass, banjo, guitar | Ferdinando Faraò  drums, percussion


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As light pierces a diamond, so it cleaves a rainbow; colours warped, refracted and dispersed. In much the same way, the questing luminosity of jazz trailblazer Steve Lacy illuminates and guides the remarkable new album by Roberto Ottaviano, Danilo Gallo and Ferdinando Faraò, his distinctive legacy adoringly proselytised via the prism of combined creativity, where Lacy once stated, “the nature of art is revealed”.

Lacy In The Sky With Diamonds (the punning title is a wry nod to The Beatles deep in avant-garde mode, the Fab Four namechecking everyone from Stockhausen to Albert Ayler as influences on Sgt. Pepper) finds this consummate Italian trio honouring Lacy’s resolutely probing and passionate music, marking the 20th anniversary of his passing as they forge an ingenious tribute through their intoxicating admixture of freshly-worked angles and humble devotion across seven spellbinding revamps and four suitably reverent originals.

Ottaviano traces the most obvious bee-line to the ensemble’s celebrated source, his soprano sax (Lacy famously devoted himself to the instrument) manifesting supple, snaking melodies, alternating between spare exchanges and sporadic frenzies, episodes of tender sobriety and playfully jagged dissonance, while Faraò keeps the percussion loose and spare, instigating occasional micro-grooves and frenetic tom-tom ructions, as Gallo deals the ensemble’s wild card, interspersing his dynamic double-bass runs with nerve-jangling guitar and even some fractiously ramshackle banjo.

Every gesture, tone and timbre here seems wrapped in a dare – vivid, bold and alive – fraught with the trio’s abundant discernment, craft and artistic munificence throughout a series of performances totally indicative of Lacy’s conjecture that: “Risk is at the heart of jazz. Every note we play is a risk.” On Lacy In The Sky With Diamonds, Otttaviano, Gallo and Faraò play like stuntmen in love.

Recorded, mixed and mastered by Vincenzo De Leo at Crossroad Recording Studio – Cologno Monzese, Milano – Italy, September 7th and 26th, 2023
Produced by Ottaviano,Gallo and Faraò | Executive production by Pedro Costa for Trem Azul | Design by Travassos | Cover painting by Kathya West | Photo by Mario Sabbatani

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