Italian pianist and composer Simone Graziano's third album, Trentacinque ("thirty-five") marks his second recording as a leader of his quintet, Frontal, featuring Gabriele Evangelista on double bass, Stefano Tamborrino on drums, and David Binney on alto sax, with the addition of Dan Kinzelman on tenor sax. The album's title refers to the number of years Graziano has spent around Florence, his native city, which is one of the main inspirations for this work; it also refers to the number of recordings he's made (three), the number of members in Frontal (five), and the meter of most compositions (five). Graziano's tracks are made up of elaborate structures and improvisation, with his ensemble looking back at traditional jazz while working on a signature collective sound. The improvised "B-Polar" analyzes bipolarity in music and expresses the wish to reconnect distant ends. "White Piano" is a cold ballad highlighting Graziano's classy approach. Unlike his previous album, Frontal (2013), the Italian jazz pianist -- who studied at Berklee College of Music in Boston -- now adds rhythmic allusions to electronic music, as in "Falk the Bow," with upbeats and downbeats mixed up again and again. A short divertissement on a groove, "Give Me Some Options" is pure improvisation, while the counterpoint on "Window on a Better World" underlines a polyphonic dialogue. As additional proof of his powerful narrative writing, "Blu Piano" and "Killcoal" take different approaches to descriptive music. "Intro K.B." unveils a taste for an unpredictable use of electronics, while "Kamennaya Baba" faces hip hop.
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