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Album review: Massimo Biolcati – Incontre
Massimo Biolcati (bass); Dayna Stephens (tenor/baritone saxes); Sam Yahel (piano/organ); Jongkuk Kim (drums).
Having spent a lifetime listening to jazz and currently trying to keep up with who’s hot and who’s getting warmer by the minute I still find new names dropping through the letterbox almost daily. Particularly from Trumpland. Going by what I read in the papers I’m surprised the musicians themselves don’t deliver in person. Biolcati would seem to be a well-travelled musician. Although currently based in NYC his earlier musical adventures were in Sweden and Italy before he embarked on a 5 year stint at Berklee followed by acceptance at the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz at the University of Southern California where he studied with, among others, Ron Carter, Dave Holland and Christian McBride.
For Incontre he recruited a strong team of players yet to make a name on this side of the pond. Stephens, an associate from his Berklee days is particularly impressive. His sound on baritone is rich and full-toned – the way a baritone should sound. Biolcati is everything you would expect from a player with his background. You study with Carter, Holland and McBride, you pick up a thing or two. Yahel and Kim are no featherweights either. The former moving seamlessly from piano to B3, the latter creative and driving. Pushing the beat without overtaking it.
An album that I find impossible to fault and yet, such is the globalisation of jazz today that I can think of several UK bands to match it and not all of them are in London which can’t be a bad thing. All we’ve got to do now is find somewhere for them to play either here or over there.
Hello I Lied*; Boo Boo’s Birthday (Monk); Smile (Charlie Chaplin); Everybody Wants to Rule the World (Orzabal, Stanley, Hughes); Duke Ellington’s Sound of Love (Mingus); Incontre*;How’s Never (Holland); Fellini*; Birthday Song, Almost*.
* Biolcati original.