Filippo Cosentino: Ask

Italian exponent of the baritone guitar fuses jazz, folk and classical music in a set of originals featuring US pianist Marc Copland

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I was only peripherally aware of Italian guitarist Filippo Cosentino (b. 1983) before listening to this gem, perhaps mentally bookmarking him after reading Michael Tucker’s review of 2020’s Leave The Thorn, Take The Rose. A noted exponent of the unusual baritone guitar, Cosentino is well known in Italy, where he works extensively as an educator, session musician, producer and composer for TV and theatre.

Ask is released by the recently established Ipogeo Records, and as well as acting as musician and producer, Cosentino mixed the masters with Federico Mollo at his own Dragonfly Studio. Pianist Marc Copland is probably the most eye-catching name on the roster, while drummer Daniele Bertone has worked with Carlo Actis Dato and is a vital if unobtrusive presence throughout.

The album seamlessly fuses aspects of jazz, folk and classical music but each of the six Cosentino originals is striking in its own way. Leeway is the kind of soft fusion I’d usually associate with Wolfgang Dauner or Jasper van’t Hof, building outwards from a hypnotic minimalist intro before cycling through a sequence of dramatic chordal changes. Beneath, by contrast, is a wonderfully spacious ballad, a deep dive into an ocean of sound, while L’Astronauta is tender and intimate, an older piece Cosentino had written to mark the birth of his daughter.

The unfolding multi-layered melodies of Mermaid bring to mind Ralph Towner, while the relaxed gospel-tinged shuffle of Fallout takes us deeper into the American heartlands. There are two versions of 581G, a piece inspired by an illusory twin planet. Here, channelling the prairie Americana of Metheny, Cosentino is at his most bluesy. The alternate version includes an expansive solo from Copland, and it’s a welcome addition to the programme.

Warm, conversational and utterly enchanting from first to last, Ask is well worth tracking down.


Discography
Leeway; Beneath; 581 G; L’Astronauta; Mermaid; Fallout; 581 G (alternate) (41.20)
Cosentino (g) with Marc Copland (p); Daniele Bertone (d, pc). Alessandria, Italy. No date.
Ipogeo Records IRO12023