Marco Gallesi — Riff
(Electromantic ART 9013, 2003, CD)
by Paul Hightower, Published 2006-05-01
Fans of Italian outfit Arti & Mestieri will likely find it to be no surprise that long-time bassist Marco Gallesi has a deep fondness for traditional jazz and fusion. Now out on his own, Gallesi can indulge his love for the style to his heart’s content, and with this debut solo album he gets to explore just about every corner of jazz possible. Tracks like “Naibi” and “Mosito” have a sunny fusion bounce not unlike Spyro Gyra, aided here by Diego Mascherpa’s soprano sax on the former and Nelson Diaz’ vibrant piano on the latter. “Giants Step” allows Gallesi to indulge in some Squire-esque solo wailing that pays tribute to John Coltrane and Jimi Hendrix at the same time. On this track, and throughout the record, drummer (and fellow A&M member) Furio Chirico exhibits tasty stick work that perfectly complements Gallesi’s own talents. Other notable guests include keyboard players Beppe Crovella (another A&M alum) and Paolo Ricca who is especially adept at quick-pulsed Latin jazz playing as seen in “Sandstorm” and “Batik”. Gallesi’s playing is most informed by the late great Jaco Pastorious, as seen in the lyrical and melodic tracks “Ali” and “Marilyn”, though similarities to other greats like Stanley Clarke and modern players like Victor Wooten crop up in Gallesi’s work. Fans of classic 70s fusion will be thrilled with the compositions throughout Riff that do much more than just give Gallesi a vehicle to grandstand and have a notable maturity and charm. Highly recommended.
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