GAETANO PARTIPILO; Besides (Schema Records)

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Italian soul and jazz are both going through a purple patch at the moment – witness the popularity of Andrea Balducci’s album from the back end of last year and wait for the waves of approval that will great Mario Biondi’s new album, ‘Sun’. Milan-based Schema Records has been at the forefront of this new Italian Renaissance and they keep the momentum going with this fine release on sax man Gaetano Partipilo. Partipilo has been part of the Italian jazz scene since the late 90s but his playing has taken him right round the world. Indeed for a time he lived in New York where he worked with Greg Osby before returning to Italy to form and record with a band called Urban Society.

For this new project Partipilo takes centre stage himself as he visits and evokes a jazz epoch for which he feels he has most empathy – the 60s. With a mix of original material and well-chosen classics he successfully recreates the whole ambience of 60s cool… try the opener ‘Beyond The Days’ to hear what I mean. The tune is a Partipilo original and is graced by an Astrud Gilberto-inspired vocal from Alice Ricciardi… dreamy and atmospheric. ‘Ocean Dance’ (another original tune, fronted by the vocals of Heidi Vogel) is livelier but is equally evocative. Check out the great trumpet solo from Fabrizio Bosso too – just the right amount of attack. Of the covers, the take on the Herbie Mann/Mel Tomé tune ‘Right Now’ is properly authentic – vocal here from a cool gent simply called “Mr Natural”. He’s there again on a version of the Johnny Hartman/John Coltrane ballad ‘Autumn Serenade’. Best of the overtly Latin material is ‘Atras Da Porta’- poignantly interpreted by Rosalia De Souza. Other highlights include a version of Nat Adderley’s Jive Samba’ and a take on Joyce’s ‘Essa Mulher’… all very refined and laid back … all very 60s.

(BB) 4/5