November 1, 2006
Ambiences Magnetiques AM 154 CD
Mixing modal, minimalist and avant-garde impulses, the pieces on this CD stem from teaching methodologies workshops Italian pianist Gianni Lenoci leads in his hometown of Monopoli. But theres nothing fussy or academic about the date.
Taking jazzman Eric Dolphys buoyant intensity and composer Morton Feldmans horizontal sound development as its contrasting boundries, the Lenoci sextet not only plays a composition by each man, but also original tunes that bound from one extremity to the other, sonically coloring in the often elusive middle distances.
Playing piano, electric piano, synthesizer and electronics, Lenoci who has recorded with French bassist Joëlle Léandre is especially noteworthy on Sesante, where his sprinting glissandi and flashing octaves simultaneoulsy reference legato fantasia and tremolo improvisation. Buoyed by the hocketing undulations of saxophonists Fabrizio Scarafile and Francesco Massaro, his keyboard note clusters still leave space for distorted guitar reverb from Adolfo La Volpe.
Louder and more boppish, Punto showcases Massaros swaggering baritone saxophone growls on top of organic keybaord comping, while Rothko flirts with electronics. Except for an occasiomal cymbal clap from Marcello Magliocchi and slurping chirps from the saxes, this piece is all Lenoci, who outputs broken chord cadenzas and cascading arpeggios that expose internal string slides and ring modulator- triggered gongs.
With bassist Francesco Angiuli on side to keep the band grounded during the more traditionally jazzy and electronic compositions, the composer/pianist confirms that fluent improvisations can arise from cerebral forethought as well as in-the-moment playing.
— Ken Waxman
For Whole Note Vol. 12 #3