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Poor Memory

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Album Review

This is an early live recording (1987) by bassist Paolo Damiani featuring mates Paolo Fresu on trumpet, Gianluigi Trovesi on saxophones and bass clarinet, Claude Barthelemy on guitar, and Aldo Romano on drums. Given that this is a concert date, it's remarkable how subtly some of these textures come off. Damiani is deeply influenced by Gil Evans, and in fact dedicated this recording to him. The pastel color palette he works with is more often suited for the recording studio than the stage, but here, with these master musicians in his camp, the fiery solos and the pastoral mauves and blues are all displayed with loving care and grace. The best known of these compositions (indeed these may have been their debut performances) — "...E Sbadigli," "26th Street, Between...," and "Offerte Speciali" — all contain within them the sort of ringing, fluid orchestral splash of light on water. Rhythmically they may be slower, but they carry within them hints of Latin meter and texture, and all of them ring true with the sheer airy lyricism that is inherent in all of Damiani's mature work. This is a fine starting point for those interested in late-century Italian jazz and, for those who already know, it's an opportunity to hear some of Damiani's best-loved works performed with the kind of awe-inspiring enthusiasm a new work of art brings to those who encounter it — in this case the sidemen. And with cats of this caliber on the case, there isn't a sorry note in the bunch.

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Poor Memory, Paolo Damiani Quintet
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