by Tom Haugen
Roots Grooves, 2021
The saxophonist Dan Moretti has enjoyed a multi-decade career where he’s played his very diverse brand of jazz all over the globe. His 20th album(!), Tres Libre brings noisemakers like Cuban baby-bass, congas, and pandeiro, among many others, to help his worldly vision shine.
“Jim Brown’s Cousin” starts the listen with no shortage of energy as funky grooves are cultivated thanks to the alto sax and Marty Richards’ strong drumming alongside Marty Ballou’s bouncy bass, and “Mumbo Jumbo” follows with Moretti’s love of reggae coming through on his tenor sax prowess amid Ray Gennari’s strategic bass work.
In the middle, “Pandeiro-Funk” showcases Bruce Bartlett’s superb electric guitar amid the glowing soprano sax acrobatics and Marcus Santos’ pandeiro, while “The Inner Side” benefits from Michael Farquharson’s fretless bass as sublime melodies unfold with nods to European sounds.
Nearing the end, “When You Leave This World” offers an exciting interpretation of traditional Indian Bhajan that embraces a free jazz approach with much exploration, and “The Missing Breath” finishes the listen with Moretti on 3 tenor saxophones, where a spiritual quality surrounds the harmonies with much beauty as influence from the Norwegian saxophonist Jan Garbarek are appreciated.
Few artists will have a career as lengthy or consistently great as Moretti. Now having released original music in 4 different decades, he brings his vast experience and inestimable talent to another exceptional body of work.