Daniele Germani: What Reason Could I Give

Well-travelled altoist produces solid material of his own but the most interesting thing here is four variations on an Ornette Coleman tune

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New York-based Daniele Germani picked up saxophone at age 11 and by 20 was performing jazz in Rome, Paris, Amsterdam and Brussels, going on to study at Italy’s Frosinone Conservatory and Berklee College of Music in Boston.

Since then he has played clubs and festivals in Europe, South America and the US with artists such as the Dave Douglas Octet, Leo Genovese, Dave Douglas, Bob Moses and George Garzone, as well as his own quartet and that of Cosimo Boni; 2021 saw the release of two albums on Gleam Records (A Congregation Of Folks and Xenya).

Cut at Cicaleto Recording in Italy and featuring Paris-based US bassist Joe Sanders, this third offering comprises 12 tracks, four being takes on the Ornette Coleman tune of the record’s title, the remaining eight being composed by Germani.

Anything But A Screen opens the set on an interaction of strong, establishing chords from Italian pianist Domenico Sanna and Germani’s lazy, playful sax over some fussy drum action. As Long As You Accept Me also features sombre piano and sax, with the leader’s longtime collaborator, Cosimo Boni, joining energetically on trumpet, while Sanders and drummer Francesco Ciniglio (Italian, but also Paris-based) busy themselves on rhythm.

Parallels boasts some fine high-lonesome horn work, and the Germani-Sanders co-write Origin kicks off on a lively percussive passage, with twin horns paired over sprightly drum rolls, submerged, punctuating bass lines and cascading piano. Meanwhile, the bouncy, shuffling Heavy Lights makes room for some understated scat singing preceding some cacophonous horn work.

Germani’s writing and arranging is on the money for sure, but the most interesting entries are the four very different yet concise takes (the longest runs to 1.59) on Coleman’s What Reason Could I Give. The first is a slow, plaintive reflection via piano and sax, while the second picks up a rumba tempo with plenty of bent bass notes, and version III features extended, underlying trumpet passages with sax and drums fencing over the top. Finally, What Reason Could I Give IV sees bass and saxophone bouncing off each other hesitantly before closing on a high, bright horn. These would make a fabulous EP.

This is a solid set, mixing originals and covers (or versions of a cover), delivered by virtuosi players who excel at slipping off in individual exploratory and improvisational interludes while still coming together to function as a tight, coherent musical unit.

Discography
Anything But A Screen; As Long As You Accept Me; Parallels; What Reason Could I Give I; Origin; On The Canvas You Made; What Reason Could I Give II; The Vision We Have Of The Things We Ignore; Heavy Lights; What Reason Could I Give III; Which Could Also Be A Name; What Reason Could I Give IV (42.59)
Germani (as); Cosimo Boni (t); Domenico Sanna (p); Joe Sanders (b); Francesco Ciniglio (d). Arezzo, Italy, 15 March 2021.
Fresh Sound New Talent FSNT 621