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Rosario Giuliani Quintet: Anything Else

Rosario Giuliani proves himself here as a hard-swinging, technically adept post-bop alto and soprano saxophonist. His music is less a personal concept than it is a composite of modern jazz sax and compositional styles-the requisite “old master” touches seem filtered through the influence of more contemporary players like Kenny Garrett and Michael Brecker, with a fair amount of Phil Woods thrown in. His sidemen (Flavio Boltro, trumpet and flugelhorn; Dado Moroni, piano; Rémi Vignolo, bass; Benjamin Henocq, drums) are similarly gifted; they have chops galore and what seems to be a book-learned approach to how jazz is supposed to be played. The machine-like precision that such players as Garrett have brought to the alto is present in Giuliani’s work. His skills are admirable, if not particularly artful or distinctive. In general, the music is all hard surfaces and sharp corners. The musicians play what they know, and they know plenty. But just knowing isn’t enough. Sometimes it’s what you don’t know but try anyway that makes all the difference. That requires a willingness to risk failure, which is something many young jazz musicians seem increasingly unwilling to do. As a consequence, they make such well played but ultimately generic-sounding music as this.

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