Beyond the Blue
Art of Life
Italian drummer Marcelli is a natural swinger with a light touch-and an accomplished composer to boot. He's aided on Beyond the Blue by a stellar outfit that includes guitarist Mike Stern, bassist Eddie Gomez, pianist Mitchel Forman and tenor saxophonist Bob Mintzer. The opening "Between Poles" is a perfect vehicle for Stern to wail in the kind of understated, swinging fashion that he revealed on his 1992 gem Standards (And Other Songs). Mintzer also adds a particularly muscular tenor solo here.
Marcelli's most affecting compositions are "The Meaning of the Family," the serene, samba-flavored "Summer Nights," the melancholy ballad "Distances" and the title track, a briskly swinging trio offering that showcases both Forman's and Gomez's considerable chops, underscored by the drummer's supple brushwork. Marcelli also showcases his clarinet playing on two impressionistic chamberlike pieces, accompanying himself on overdubbed synth strings, and also on the album's uplifting closer,