Twenty-two-year-old Giovanni Guidi, from Foligno, Italy, is not only one of the most promising young pianists in jazz, he is already making wildly creative, diverse, disciplined music. For his second recording as a leader, the understated, articulate rhythm section from his debut album (Tomorrow Never Knows, on Venus) is back: bassist Francesco Ponticelli, from Italy, and drummer João Lobo, from Portugal. Dan Kinzelman, from Michigan by way of the University of Miami, joins on reeds.
The first track, “Shadows,” with Kinzelman on clarinet, is breathy and implicit, halting and hypnotic, but like nearly all of this quartet’s concepts, it intensifies. Guidi gets tension and release. He also gets Ornette Coleman. “Round Trip” (by Coleman) and “O.C.E.R.” (by Guidi, for Coleman and Enrico Rava, in whose New Generation band Guidi played) are pure joy and ritual.
With Guidi, what at first seems youthful impulsiveness always turns out to be a plan. “Il Campione” is an intricate line, retained, but accelerated to a blur, with Kinzelman on clarion tenor saxophone. “Don’t Change a Hair for Me” seems an odd title until you recognize the chords and remember it is a line from “My Funny Valentine.” Italians not only get Chet Baker (who owned the song), they revere him. Guidi’s tune is a free rearrangement with sudden epiphanies in flashes of Rodgers and Hart and Baker.