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Franco Baggiani - 2014 - "Memories of Always"

(68:57, Sound Records)


1.  Ob session 2:51
2.  Ghebus Suite 12:46
3.  The Sieve Smells Bad Today 4:37
4.  Black Satin 13:59
5.  A Series of Coincidences 9:09
6.  Etnop the Chinese 14:36
7.  Simple and Invisible 11:02


Franco Baggiani  trumpet 
Giacomo Downie  sax 
Adriano Arena  guitar 
Lorenzo Forti  bass 
Alberto Rosadini  drums 
Fabio Ferrini  percussion 
Alessandro Criscino  percussion 

Prolusion. Italian composer and musician Franco BAGGIANI is, from what I understand, a solidly established artist in his native Italy with more than a dozen albums to his name from the end of the 80s until now. "Memories of Always" was released back in 2014 by the Italian label Sound Records.

Analysis. Among the multitude of albums that come my way each year, this is among those productions where my knowledge about the music explored isn't the greatest. Jazz and jazz rock have never been one of my specialties, and this is an album that mainly revolves around those aspects of music, with, at least to my ears, a firm emphasis on jazz and not so much on jazz rock or rock music in general. I can easily hear that this is accomplished material, however, but much of it is a bit beyond my general sphere of interest. Not so for the brilliant opening track Ob-session, however. This short and concise vitamin pill of an opening track combines elements from funk and jazz into a jubilant, expressive jazz-rock piece, of the kind that might well have been made back sometime in the 70s. A truly playful and uplifting opening to this album. From there and onward the compositions can, broadly, be separated into two different categories. On the one hand we have the creations that have a firm and solid foundation inside jazz, staying that way throughout. The slow-paced, careful and melancholic The Sieve Smells Bad Today, the alternating careful and gentle passages and chaotic, firmer eruptions on A Series of Coincidences and the concluding track Simple and Invisible with its gliding, searching textures going intense and chaotic in expression in the second half, all a part of that category. On the other hand we're also treated to material that either starts out in more of a vibrant jazz rock manner, then developing towards a more purebred jazz expression, or that has the exact opposite development. Fairly often with funk details by way of the guitar in the more jazz-rock oriented passages, and when not the guitar is still prominently used in a rock or, at some point, experimental rock mode. The key and often main instrument is, rather obviously, the often frail soaring trumpet deliveries of main man Baggiani. He does allow the other instrumentalists to rise and shine as well, but the trumpet is still an essential instrument throughout. Otherwise there's some quality percussion work done throughout, on a quality production with quality musicians those were still, at least as I experienced them, a standout element here.

Conclusion. The combination of jazz and rock music was pioneered by a certain Miles Davis back in the day, and as one of the tracks here is a take on one of his compositions, I would imagine that for that reason, as well as for the other cuts that blend rock and jazz throughout, this CD is one that should appeal fairly broadly towards an audience with a taste for that kind of music in general and the works of Miles Davis in particular.

OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: March 4, 2016
The Rating Room

Related Links:

Sound Records
Franco Baggiani


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