This column has tended to have good fortune with Italian pianists. We have had the pleasure of featuring several excellent albums by Robert Magris, and now we have a pair from Dino Massa: Anime Diverse - a quartet date, and Un Po Come Noi, a trio outing.
B Resourcefulness with personnel is nothing untoward for jazz players, but Massa must have the biggest local databae on record. between hthe two discs offered here, and the playlistson You Tube and other online sources show Massa with a truly diverse array of players and, cliched as it may sound all, including the vocalists, are top-notch.For the quartet set, bassist Danele Sorreto, who's about as close to a "regular" as we've been able to document, appears with Elio Coppola on drums and Valerio Virzo on tenor horn. There's track entitled 'McKoy's Blues" and its rathe fitting as Massa's sound does recall the great McKoy Tyner. But don't be mistaken - this is no clone. Massa and the band skip, ump, stomp and softly pedal through the 8 tracks with an irrepressible joy and sensitivity that is highly individualised but very welcome and endearing. That and 'Per un Amico" (for a Friend) mark the standouts from this disc.
The trio outing features the conventional arranngement, with Piero Leveratto on bass and Claudio Borrelli on drums supporting - really collaborating - with the leader. The overall feel is "smokier" as in classic jazz club ambience and tone-feel. The execution though, is similarly high level. Every note comes in with ust the amount of weight that one would expect and makes way for the next without hitch or undue flourish. Massa, just being introduced to this writer, clearly knows the idiom, and is committed to the highest level of expression, both individual and collectively.
Simply put, this is an Italian jazz outing (dual) that you will enjoy immensely and will wish to repeat - a lot.