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Franco D’Andrea New Quartet: Jobim

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As distinct from the relatively faithful bossa nova-styled interpretations of Antonio Carlos Jobim’s music that so many post-’60s jazzmen and other types of musicians have been recording over the decades, Italian pianist D’Andrea chose to apply a free-flowing contemporary jazz approach to this richly melodic material. Towards that end, in the xpostion of 11 Jobim compositions, and for reasons we shall probably never know, for this date he used altoist Andrea Ayace Ayassol, an intonationally challenged player who can probably be best described as a member of the minimalist avant-garde “school.” His exasperating and embarrassing performances, however, are happily offset by the comparatively straight-ahead rhythm team of bassist Aldo Mella and drummer Alex Rolle. Of course, the familiar standards-“Vou Te Contar,” “Corcovado,” “Garota De Ipanema,” “Chega De Saudade,” “Insensatez,” “Desafinado,” and “Triste”-are all here, but also included are such lesser known tunes as “Aguas De Marco, “O Amor Em Paz,” “Meditacao,” and “Dindi.” If one can put aside Ayassol’s presence, in the end it is D’Andrea’s lyrical and rhythmically incisive voice that will most justify a serious listen.