Feb 26 2018
Alessandro Sgobbio and Emiliano Vernizzi have been working under the project name Pericopes for a number of years now. Those of you who have been with me since my eMusic Jazz Picks days will recognize the name. Well, the duo have two new albums out, and it goes a long way to illustrating the vast emotional range at their disposal.
Their 2018 release What What is a case in point. It possesses a solemn tone reminiscent of a chamber jazz session recorded in an old church somewhere out in the countryside. It’s a tone that carries even through those moments when the duo jacks up the heat several notches… as they frequently do on this lovely recording. The tides of intensity shift to and fro with a suddenness that is often quite stunning. The unexpectedness of these changes never dims, even in the face of their common occurrence. There are times when it seems a shame that they’d break the spell of serenity that had settled in, but that interruption gradually is revealed as a blessing, because not only does the spike in volatility have a captivating quality all its own, but there’s also the satisfaction of the inevitable return to a state of peace.
Your album personnel: Emiliano Vernizzi (soprano & tenor saxophones) and Alessandro Sgobbio (piano).
Released on Unit Records.
Listen to more of the album on the artist’s Soundcloud page.
But it’s not uncommon for the duo to expand their numbers when the moment calls for it. Their other new release, Legacy, is one such example of the benefits to this creative flexibility. Adding Nick Wight to the fold gives the affair a much more lively and excitable demeanor… a result that can be measured in how the drummer spurs the melodic voicings on to greater heights and speeds, but also in the way Wight gives the melody greater definition in the way he dances spryly around it. The sharp precision the latter approach burns into the song is best heard in “November Tears.” The song smolders with thick emotion, and though this would seem to be a moment ripe for a drummer to exploit for dramatics, Wight’s undercurrent of accompaniment resonates far stronger than any burst of fireworks could have achieved. That said, the thrilling rhythmic curls of title-track “Legacy,” and how they suddenly break into stretches of insistent pulsing tempo certainly add to the reasons why this album is so damn enjoyable.
Equally notable are the parallels to be drawn between Legacy and What What, and how Sgobbio and Vernizzi are in no way inhibited from applying some of the same approaches to intensity with either recording, and regardless of the line-up. It was this way, too, when they worked as a trio on their 2015 release These Human Beings.
Your album personnel: Emiliano Vernizzi (tenor sax) and Alessandro Sgobbio (piano, Fender Rhodes) and Nick Wight (drums).
Released on Auand Records.