Francesco Cafiso is the 16-year-old Sicilian-born alto- saxophone virtuoso who has been causing the likes of legendary altoist Phil Woods and veteran critic Ira Gitler to marvel at his astonishing abilities. On Happy Time, he once again displays the beautiful tone, phenomenal technical control and mastery of the bop vocabulary that would be the envy of many seasoned saxophonists. He is featured here with an excellent hard-bop-oriented rhythm section of pianist Riccardo Arrighini, bassist Aldo Zunino and drummer Stefano Bagnoli.
Cafiso even composed all the tunes: a pair of blues numbers, a lilting waltz, a quick modal piece, a barnburner on “Rhythm” changes, a moving ballad and a couple of mixed-tempo pieces. Again, the quality is such that they could be the work of a much more experienced person.
Cafiso’s improvising style echoes those of bop-oriented models like Charlie Parker, Cannonball Adderley and Phil Woods, although he sometimes employs flashy virtuosic passages of a kind rarely if ever found in their music. According to all reports, the young altoist continues to mature musically as he ages, and one can eagerly await his next venture.