Francesco Cataldo: Giulia

In brief:
"Undoubtedly the music is faultlessly executed by a quartet of consummate professionals, but as far as I can hear there's next to nothing of the sound of surprise in it"

It seems that many live music venues are staring into the abyss and the availability of the live stuff in the era of the new normal looks likely to be far smaller than it was.

With this in mind I know from experience that “records” are coming back into their own, perhaps as a means of offsetting that lack of live music. All of which leads me to wonder how many of the “records” of contemporary jazz which are still flooding the market, relatively speaking, are likely to register with the listening public.


This album is a case in point. Undoubtedly the music is faultlessly executed by a quartet of consummate professionals, but as far as I can hear there’s next to nothing of the sound of surprise in it, and while the music might serve as balm for some troubled souls, if one isn’t troubled in an apposite way it can surely become so much aural wallpaper.

Cataldo plays acoustic guitar throughout, and for all of its undoubted qualities this is not an instrument of choice for anything unruly, unless of course a musician is intent on the memory-defying and resounding moment approach of Derek Bailey.

Cataldo, by way of some contrast, is a very correct player, and while the resulting good manners may be welcome in everyday life, musically the result is far more muted and curiously lacking in nuance. So Small So Big is a case in point, and could well serve as the group’s ECM audition piece.

I’ve found Copland’s pianistic skills compelling in the past, not least in his duo with Greg Osby, but here he hunkers down beneath the figurative duvet, and the impression of music that makes as few demands of the musicians as it does of the listener prevails.

Find out more about Francesco Cataldo: Giulia at

I Tuoi Colori (Prologo); Giulia; Levante; Waltz For Two; Two Ways; Joy And Pain; Two Colours; So Small So Big; Two Ways (Reprise); Circles (Reprise) (49.30)
Vito Francesco Cataldo (g, p); Marc Copland (p); Pietro Leveratto (b); Adam Nussbaum (d). Rome, Italy, No date.
Alfa Music AFMCD 225

Latest audio reviews


More from this author


Jazz Journal articles by month


Ellen Edwards: A New York Session

Based in Atlanta, Georgia, Ellen Edwards has sung professionally for two decades. She has also been a student of Suzy Bogguss, a factor that...

Count me in 08/19

Mention last time of my jazz-book discovery in Appleby (The Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD, by Cook & Morton, awaiting liberation from The...

Farewell, Dr. Lonnie

With the passing of Dr. Lonnie Smith on 28 September 2021 at his home in Fort Lauderdale, FL, the jazz world bade farewell to...

Dave Brubeck’s Time Out

It is a long time since such a rewarding book about jazz has appeared at such a modest cost There’s a small host of books...


In the late 1940s the first wave of World War II novels began to appear. The positives were that the authors had actually served...

JJ 01/91: Rhythms Of The World

Like the BBC2 TV series from which it has spun off, this book does little to fulfil the brief of its title. I suspect...