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Paul Wertico Trio - Letter from Rome


When there is Paul Wertico in a combo you are almost certain that it is excellent music. And this time too the situation is exactly this: at the head of a trio completed by Fabrizio Mocata on the piano and Gianmarco Scaglia on the double bass, the American drummer does not deny himself and offers an interesting album. On the program nine pieces written in various intersections by the three musicians with the addition of a classic of Italian pop music, Domenico Modugno's "Vecchio Frak", a piece that has already attracted the attention of several jazz players including Fabrizio Bosso and Marco Tamburini ; the trio gives a personal and convincing interpretation: after an introduction of the bass that draws the melodic line, it is Fabrizio Mocata's turn to conceive a solo that revolves around the melody to land, when the drums also enter the field, on a completely improvised terrain, now very far from the original score. And this is a bit like the plot on which the music develops for the whole CD, that is to say the hint to a cantabile line (introduced by the piano or the double bass) and then the three who indulge in often enthralling improvisations that denote, in addition to an obvious understanding (Wertico and Scaglia had already recorded another album, Dynamics in Meditation, Challenge Records 2020) the joy of making music, of playing together. All enhanced by the solos of Paul who confirms himself as one of the best drummers in practice today: listen carefully to the way he treats the cymbals, his real trademark.

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The almost seventy-year-old drummer from Chicago, for almost two decades alongside Pat Metheny in his historic formations, returns to record with his Italian accompanists, the pianist Fabrizio Mocata and the double bass player Gianmarco Scaglia. He had already done it in 2013, when their Free The Opera! it had caused quite a stir when it came to the nominations for the Grammy Awards. This time the three entered the room almost for fun – the far-sighted Alfa Music bosses Alessandro Guardia and Fabrizio Salvatore offered their studio for an afternoon of sessions and recorded everything – and came out with a couple of new improvisations created on the spot (the initial, thoughtful "Buongiorno Roma" and the twilight "Buonasera Roma"), six unpublished songs and the exciting cover in his stripped-down, almost autopsy appropriation, of the infinite "Vecchio Frak" by Domenico Modugno.

Also this time it is the Sicilian pianist, Florentine by adoption, to lead the ranks, proposing the South American appeal explored for a long time in Rojo Porteño and Mala Hierba in the vibrant "Three-Headed Tower Samba" and the open-mindedness to a wide international spectrum of his workpiece Letter From Manhattan in moments of great aesthetic and discursive value such as "L’elogio delle cose semplici" (The Praise of Simple Things), "Aria" and "Modestina." Effective as in his best moments the appreciated Piacenza bassist of the Open Frontiers Trio, co-author of the "perfect" "Dave", the most orthodox and varied song of the lot. Of note are the almost five minutes of solo in the "Trilogy Suite" of an elegant drummer as discreet, always stimulating and never invasive as Wertico has shown himself in the now half century of career.

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