by Nolan Debuke
Italian pianist and composer Alessandro Fadini combines his talents as a well-educated mathematician and a self-taught pianist, to produce a unique sound on his debut album, A Dark Stormy Day. This is not surprising, if you think about it, music is a series of math equations strung together in a unique language. A protégé of Marc Copland, he has a precipitate approach towards improvisation, creating unique colorizations and seemingly higher math equations in his phrasing. A fine example of this can be heard on “Starting Something.”
On “All the Rest Is Boredom,” contrasting dissonant staccato phrases with melodically pleasing passages that build a momentum and ample space for improvisation in an up-tempo feel is afoot. The beautifully crafted “Elegy for the Living Dead” depicts emotions of solemn feelings of self-examination and emotion. Fadini exhibits a less is more approach with a gentle solo piano intro on “No Thrills.” A frenetic build, dramatic stops for punctuation create a tightly woven experience of exploration.
Supported by an aptly qualified group, a shining star in the mix is Josiah Boornazian, who Fadini gives plenty of room for on the album, to lend to the overall result and sum of the release. A fine example of this is the opener “A Dark and Stormy Day,” which showcases Boornazian as a deft and dynamic player, with an almost slicing tone. What I found most striking is his ability to mutate his tone on any given cut, to serve the song itself.
Driving the rhythm section is Luke Markham on bass and Jakob Dreyer on drums. The chemistry between the players is evident in the group affinity, which is extended to the music for a winning result. Fadini and Markham are exceptionally locked. Markham’s ability to caress with appropriate textures, and push and pull, give an effective creativity to the overall sound as best exhibited on his own composition “Mayall’s Object” and Boornazian’s “Window Ledge.” Not to be ignored is bassist Jakob Dreyer. Many times, the abilities and nuances of a bassist can be overlooked when the melody players shine so brightly. With Dreyer, his apposite note choices and nuanced underpinning, create a canvas for Fadini and Boornazian to paint upon, and Markham to interact with, as the two create complexities that are not overpowering, yet drive each tune to interest.
A group to watch, they already have many plusses to attribute. I look forward to continuing to watch their direction and growth in the jazz marketplace. Though many trailblazers in jazz seem to be passing as of late, it is good to see the seeds of their trails being expanded upon and continued by young groups such as this.