Carla Marciano 4tet: A Strange Day

Italian alto and sopranino saxophonist Carla Marciano wears her admiration for John Coltrane on her sleeve. It would be difficult to find another saxophonist whose conception, phrasing and tone (even on alto) owe more to Coltrane’s than do hers. Intense, high energy modal playing suffused with trills, runs, fragmented phrases and breakneck scalar passages characterizes much of her playing, although on tunes such as her own “A Strange Day” and “I Try to Remember,” as well as the standard “Pennies From Heaven,” she shows that she is capable of relatively delicate swing as well.

While her style is unabashedly derivative, Marciano is a marvelous saxophonist and improviser, consistently demonstrating impressive control of her instruments and her material, most of which she composed herself. Pianist Alessandro La Corte not only provides roiling accompaniment for the saxophonist’s passionate flights but offers a needed contrast with well-constructed, swinging hard-boplike solos of his own. Music of such high intensity asks much of a drummer and bass player, and Gaetano Fasano and Aldo Vigorito come through admirably.