Rosario Giuliani: More than Ever

Rosario Giuliani’s third CD for Dreyfus packs every bit as much punch as the previous two, both of which showcased the Italian altoist/sopranoist’s prodigious ability to generate intense passion and excitement in a hard bop manner suggestive of players like Cannonball Adderley and Phil Woods. This time around he supplants his Italian rhythm section with a French one consisting of bassist Remi Vignolo, drummer Benjamin Henocq and special guests pianist Jean-Michel Pilc (a New Yorker since 1995) and accordionist Richard Galliano.

Giuliani utilizes a virtuosic technique and an edgy sound to prance blithely and sing poignantly as the setting dictates. Pilc’s energy matches the leader’s; the dissonant harmonies, crashing chord clusters and long, sequential melodic lines in the tricky 7/4 piece “Seven Thoughts” are typical of his approach. As always, Galliano demonstrates that the oft-derided accordion can serve as a genuine, fresh-sounding vehicle for jazz improvisation. His work on his own tribute to the Argentine tango great Astor Piazzolla, the mood- and tempo-shifting “I Remember Astor,” is especially expressive and exhilarating. Except for the two by Galliano and one by Pilc, the compositions are all Giuliani’s and exhibit a concern for craftsmanship that mere blowing vehicles usually do not.