Going up: next floor is prog-jazz.
Lorenzo Feliciati – Elevator Man – RareNoise RNR084, 58:17 [11/17/17] ****:
[Track and Artist List follows]
The RareNoise label continues issuing memorable projects which commingle progressive rock and fusion jazz. One such album is Italian electric bassist Lorenzo Feliciati’s new, hour-long Elevator Man, which is a masterful mixture of King Crimson-esque grooves, hard-edged jazz fusion akin to Alan Holdsworth (acclaimed drummer Chad Wackerman, who was in Holdsworth’s band, contributes to one track) and some jazz/rock meets turntable production. For his seventh release, Feliciati (who is a member of RareNoise bands Naked Truth and Mumpbeak) put together a different line-up for most of the ten tracks (an approach he also did on his 2011 record, Frequent Flyer), working with a plethora of international artists, including trumpeter Cuong Vu (who has been a member of the Pat Metheny Group), and several Italian artists. Feliciati composed all the pieces during a three-month period and deliberately shifted toward a more progressive rock style than on his previous outings. Elevator Man is available as CD, 180 gms vinyl and multiple digital download formats. This review refers to the CD configuration.
The progressive jazz/rock methodology is heard immediately on the opening title track, where Feliciati’s pumping electric basses (he overdubs both fretted and fretless basses) and his electric guitar meld with Roberto Gualdi’s heavy-hitting drums and a layered, three-horn setup (trombone, bass trombone and baritone sax). Anyone who likes 90s-era King Crimson will enjoy this grooving number. Another powerful cut is “Three Women,” one of two compositions which feature Vu. During “Three Women” Vu is matched up with guitarist Antonio Jasevoli (who has an Andy Summers tone at times), drummer Davide Savarese, and the three horns heard on the title track. “Three Women” has more dynamics than the title track, and a sound which evokes Holdsworth meeting up with the group Brand X. Vu also performs on the lengthiest number, the eight-minute “14 Stones,” a modern tune layered with more horns, and Alessandro Gwis’ acoustic piano and Gwis’ laptop effects which include eerie vocal sounds. This time the drums are done by former King Crimson member Pat Mastelotto. The result is an interesting instrumentation which combines electronic/digital noises, jazz, progressive rock flavoring, and a heavy-to-light tonality. The bass quality is hearty due to Feliciati’s fretted bass alongside Pierluigi Bastioli’s bass trombone. Another trumpeter, Claudio Corvini, guests on the placid jazz piece, “Black Book, Red Letters.” Corvini’s calm notes get some atmospheric support from alto saxophonist Sandro Satta (who flits in and out of the arrangement), while Feliciati layers upright and fretted bass and tiered effects, while drummer Gianni Di Renzo offers light percussive touches on snares, cymbals and his toms.
One of the most left-field tunes is “The Third Door,” a duet between Feliciati (who overdubs fretless bass, electric guitar and keys) with Maurizio Bonizzoni (AKA DJ Skizo), who uses turntables and rhythm design (including women’s repetitive voices) to facilitate a dance/electronica sheen across Feliciati’s prog/jazz arrangement. Another unique item is “Unchained Houdini,” which pits Feliciati (again on fretless bass, electric guitar and keys) with drummer Davide Pettirosi, a busy Italian musician with a long list of credits. Pettirosi has a bit of Bill Bruford in his style, which benefits Feliciati’s rock-based “Unchained Houdini.” Feliciati takes a quieter tactic on the record’s closing cut, the moody “U Turn in Falmouth,” where Feliciati’s ambient bass, guitar and keys are matched against Davide Savarese’s drums and percussion.
Black Book, Red Letters
The Third Door
Thief Like Me
U Turn in Falmouth
Lorenzo Feliciati – fretted and fretless bass, electric guitar, keyboards, upright bass, Moog bass, arranger, producer; Roberto Gualdi – drums (track 1); Stan Adams – trombone, horn section arranger; Pierluigi Bastioli – bass trombone; Duilio Ingrosso – baritone saxophone; Roy Powell – Hohner clavinet (track 2); Chad Wackerman – drums (track 2); Cuong Vu – trumpet (tracks 3, 5); Pat Mastelotto – drums (track 3); Alessandro Gwis – acoustic piano with Reaktor running on laptop (track 3); Sandro Satta – alto saxophone; Claudio Corvini – trumpet; Gianni Di Renzo – drums (track 4); Antonio Jasevoli – electric guitar solo (track 5); Davide Savarese – drums (tracks 5, 10); Davide Pettirosi – drums (track 6); DJ Skizo – turntables and rhythm design (track 7); Mattias IA Eklundh – electric guitar solo (track 8); Luca Giacobbe – vibraphone (track 8); Marco Sfogli – electric guitar (track 9); Aidan Zammit – keyboards (track 9); Gianluca Plamieri – drums (track 9)