Alberto Pinton Noi Siamo

Opus Facere
Clean Feed CF 473 CD

Spontaneous and expansive present-day swing is the take away from this live Stockholm concert featuring the quietest audience is memory. The muted appreciation may be the result of careful editing, or as likely to have resulted from the spectators experiencing four artful players at top form. They are Italian saxophonist/clarinetist Alberto Pinton, a long-time Swedish resident who composed all the tunes but one group-improvisation; trumpeter Niklas Barnö, who has worked with Fire! Orchestra and Joel Grip; bassist Torbjorn Zetterberg, who has partnered Jonas Kullhammar and Susana Santos Silva; and drummer Konrad Agnas, part of Johan Lindström’s septet.

Although the quartet make-up is reminiscent of Ornette Coleman’s 1960 group with Don Cherry, Noi Siamo, which translates as “We Are” plays with constant intensity more akin to stompers produced by Jazz-Soul exponents like Arnett Cobb or Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis, despite no tenor saxophone or organ is in sight. Furthermore the closing “Marion”, is probably named for 1960s alto saxophonist Marion Brown, but as baritone saxophone smears upsurge over ever-shifting rhythm, the upshot could be a forgotten R&B 45 as easily as a link to “Ascension”. Pinton’s shift among distinctive approaches to baritone and alto saxophones, clarinet and bass clarinet also separates him from any Coleman emulation. Plus his playing in emotional, but with Northern European restraint moderating Southern European passion. He demonstrates that crucially on the opening “Unquietly/Sabbia”. Barnö too is showier than Cherry was, as he yanks plunger tones from his horn, but without losing control. Additionally as two horns propel the theme(s) Zetterberg is always there with triple stopping lines and Agnas with the occasional resonating ping.

Pinton and Noi Siamo are also traditional enough in presentation to set up sections of different tunes to showcase individuals, whether it’s an a capella half-valve effort from the trumpeter on “Overthought”, moderated herky and jerky string thumps on “Det Vi Vet” from the bassist or an unforced brief solo from the drummer on “Long View”. The latter is also distinguished by Pinton’s clarinet wok which moves from staccato chirps to a mellow coda, as Barnö’s corkscrew snarls challenge him with call-and-response patterns atop fluid gyrations from the bass and drum team.

The reedist made a series of notable discs earlier in this century with mostly other associates. It may be the cross-Atlantic distance, but until Opus Facere he appears to have been MIA. Since this CD is as good, if not better, than his earlier work, it hopefully means a new series of Pinton platters is on the way.

—Ken Waxman

Track Listing: 1, Unquietly/Sabbia 2. Det Vi Vet 3. Long View 4. Uscita di sicurezza 5. Overthought 6. Marion

Personnel: Niklas Barnö (trumpet); Alberto Pinton (baritone and alto saxophones, clarinet and bass clarinet); Torbjörn Zetterberg (bass) and Konrad Agnas (drums)