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Massimo Biolcati: Persona

Swedish bassist Massimo Biolcati has served admirably for several years as a sideman for such artists as singer Lizz Wright, pianist Herbie Hancock, trumpeter Terence Blanchard and guitarist Lionel Loueke. Now he steps to center stage as a leader on Persona. The album’s construct is interesting. Rather than alternate between uptempo numbers and ballads, Biolcati has divided the disc in half. The first five pieces are presented under the header “Motion”; the remaining five (side two?) are labeled “Stillness,” and two of those feature vocalists (Wright and Gretchen Parlato). Biolcati wrote all 10 tunes.

Biolcati’s debut shares some aesthetic qualities with Loueke’s recent work, and it’s no coincidence. Not only did the two attend Berklee College of Music together, but Loueke returns his classmate’s favor by performing on Persona. Loueke, in fact, is front and center, and his pan-global style infuses much of the album. The band also features pianist-accordionist Peter Rende and drummer Jeff Ballard.

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