23 Quattro

The band lineup is uncommon in jazz. Pianist, composer and bandleader Raf Ferrari, bass player Guerino Rondolone, drummer Claudio Sbrolli and cellist Vito Stano. The title of the new work is Quattro and is a concept album divided into two suites.

Quattro is a musical journey, an excursion crossing melodic and harmonic boundaries, an expedition with four tour guides who have been working together for nearly ten years. The music ranges from jazz to contemporary, from classical to funk and free pop-rock. The first suite, comprised of four original compositions, are representations that Raf ascribes to himself and his musicians. The other suite, "The Seasons", is divided into four tracks dedicated to the seasons, but linked musically through a single song without interruption.

The award-winning Italian band has toured extensively, performing in Germany, Slovenia and all over Scandinavia and their musical integrity is shown in abundance throughout the album. Raf graduated from the University of Bologna with a thesis on the music of Keith Jarrett later winning a scholarship at the Saint Louis Music School in Rome. Guerino Rondolone who plays both acoustic and electric bass has worked with many ensembles from jazz to symphony orchestra and also lectures at the Eschilo Music Association in Rome. Exceptionally versatile drummer Claudio Sbrolli studied under the likes of Paul Motian, Dave Weckl and Steve Gadd. He has appeared on over 20 albums and currently lectures at the Jazz Music Department of the Lizard Academy of Music in Fiesole. Cellist Vito Stano graduated from the Conservatory of Potenza later specializing in baroque cello in Bologna with Maestro Gaetano Nasillo. He collaborates with various orchestras, such as the Lucana Symphony Orchestra, the ICO Orchestra of Magna Grecia and the European Drama Center.

To my ears
, the track Microictus typifies the range, the extent of the band’s compositional and performance acumen. Opening with cascading piano arpeggios, a driving theme, stated by cello, bass and piano evolves into a 2/4 section with Vito crossing the classical/jazz border with great originality. The piece further develops into a playful romp with delightful flights of swinging improvisation from Raf before arriving at a halfway point which is both highly melodic and meditative. We’re taken home with a display of instrumental pyrotechnics delivered with an omnipresent humour and musical awareness.

There is a lot to listen to in Quattro, and it bears repeated listening. The album never fails to fascinate and deserves special merit in the classification ‘crossover’. Regardless of style or genre – this is both a musical feat and a musical feast.

David Fishel