When this music is really working it is the fluidity that draws you in. You hear it in the compositions of pianist Vittoria Mezza and saxophonist Mark Ginsburg, in the rendering of the melodies, in the improvising and in the suppleness supplied by bassist Luca Bulgarelli and drummer Marcello di Leonardo. At its best it has a magic-carpet-ride sense of airborne ease and slightly exotic lushness. Ginsburg (tenor, soprano), from Sydney, recorded this in Rome with the three Italians, and then overdubbed occasional percussion (Fabian Hevia) and wordless vocals (Justine Bradley and the Bel a Cappella Choir) in Sydney.
The voices certainly thicken that lushness (as Bradley does on the moody Big Sea), but they can also trip the music over a line into a zone where it loses that beguiling fluidity, and is instead weighed down. I prefer the album when it has a slightly zany, more playful edge, as on Mezza’s Mimesis and Solipsismo a Strati, or when Ginsburg’s tenor storms across something like his own Nostalgia. The soft-centred, milk-chocolate jazz of Affezioni, meanwhile, sounds like it has stumbled into the wrong studio and on to the wrong record.