You might wonder what Massive Attack’s trip-hop anthem Teardrop is doing on the sophomore effort of jazz-funk and fusion group Blue Moka. A bridge too far? Not at all. It blends in seamlessly with the philosophy of the Italian quartet, which deals in the kind of flawless and high-quality popular instrumental music that was pioneered by The Gadd Gang and Tower Of Power.
It is music made with excellent ear for detail and plenty of variation in sound. This holds true not only for the saxophone, guitar, keys, organ and electronics but also for the drums.
Michele Morani underscores Teardrop with a reverberating sound while driving the compelling Fill The Void with a punchy beat and sassy strokes. Alberto Gurrisi underlines his sparse and tasteful organ solo with some fantastic bass lines, nicely setting up the climax of Emiliano Vernizzi’s roaring tenor saxophone.
It seems that slick but sleazy is typical Blue Moka – music as a fashion combination of Armani slacks and leather jacket.
Enjoy Enjoy may seem nothing more than a catchy leader of a talk show, were it not that it features a genuinely exciting guitar solo by Michele Bianchi that develops from tasteful wah-wah phrases to ripping rock licks. Playful breaks and and tight-knit unison sax and keyboard carry the funky tune out to its logical conclusion. Enjoy it we will. Blue Moka is clearly having a good time and its crafty party music flows into the audience.
Enjoy Enjoy; What Happened; Fill The Void; Teardrops; A Foggy Day; Homeland; Lotus Night; Touww (39.48)
Emiliano Vernizzi (ts, elec); Alberto Gurrisi (org, kyb); Michele Bianchi (g); Michele Morani (d). Italy, 2022.