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May 2002

Rosario Giuliani Quartet
Luggage
Dreyfus Records

Italian altoist Rosario Giuliani blows in like a Cannonball Adderley-inspired tornado on his sixth CD, the first to be released in North America. Although Adderley is clearly an influence, the prize-winning Giuliani's sometimes strident tone and propensity for swirling, perpetual motion, double-time excursions, as illustrated on his own breakneck title piece and his fast blues "Dear Tucci," help personalize his style. But his full tone can also be smoothly expressive, as his touching rendition of the original ballad "Love for My Mother" and his soulful "Remi" prove. The quartet's performance of the slow standard "Portrait of Jennie," with its respectful reading of the melody and occasional peppering of double-time passages, serves as an excellent example of authentic, straightahead hard bop.

Except for "Portrait," Wayne Shorter's "Oriental Folk Song," Wes Montgomery's "Road Song" and a couple of others, the compositions are Giuliani's. He mixes it up nicely with varying tempos and styles, including with the ballads and blazers some Latin tunes, a fairly static modal-sounding piece and, of course, some blues. Giuliani's regular rhythm section of pianist Pietro Lussu, bassist Pietro Ciancaglini and drummer Lorenzo Tucci provide empathetic and spirited support, with the latter's crashing cymbal complementing the altoist's more exuberant moments ideally.

Originally published in May 2002
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