My admiration of Italian trumpeter and flugelhornist Paolo Fresu is unbounded. In my view he is one of the most expressive and heartwarmingly lyrical players in the history of jazz, conveying tremendous emotion through a gloriously beautiful tone.
On this new release he is featured with the electronic music project SaffronKeira – a potentially stimulating prospect in theory, less successful in practice.
SaffronKeira was founded by Sardinian musician Eugenio Caria and combines electronic effects, drum machines, synthesisers and field recordings. Such ventures can be tremendously successful. Take, for example, the works of electronics wizard Jan Bang and trumpeter Arve Henkriksen.
The electronic creations on In Origine initially offer the vista of an intriguing and eerily atmospheric soundscape – but then seem to go nowhere in particular, other than being spiced up temporarily by simple deep thumps from the drum machine. Just when you think the music is about to develop and take shape it simply plods on and then drifts.
Even more annoying is the way Fresu’s lovely trumpet improvisations are frequently buried in the mix on many tracks, becoming distant and elusive. The opportunities for musical development are missed, then missed again and again. Only when the mix allows the trumpet to come to the fore do we realise what a stimulating album this could have been.
Remixed with a consistently prominent level for the trumpet, and with perhaps a human drummer and/or percussionist replacing the drum machine, this could still be a worthwhile album.
Ghosts; The Field Of Repentance; Death And Civilisation; Due Poli; Periodi Remoti; Harmony In Chaos; Religion As An Illusion; Disorderly Of Life; Capernaum; In Origine (62.38)
SaffronKeira (elec); Fresu (t, multi effects); Maxine Vavasseur (f, vn, track four only). Over Studio, Cento, Italy, no date.