Sicilian based drummer/composer Emanuele Primavera has boldly taken elements of the jazz tradition and combined this with a free-flowing dynamic expression, not unlike the jazz/rock overtones of The Brian Blade Fellowship. His quartet comprises Seby Burgio on piano and keys, Fabrizio Brusca on guitar, and Carmelo Venuto on bass. This young quartet have been performing together for some time now and it’s clear this has allowed them to forge their own sound and style. “Replace” is their debut release and deserves recognition; the musicians both individually and collectively performing to a very high standard and positively shining in moments of brilliance. There are eight tunes on the album, all penned by band leader Primavera. There are a couple of tunes that disappoint slightly, being fairly standard fare, but this comment is based on the high standard the rest of the album sets. Special praise must go to the third track of the session “Clara”. (There seems to be a developing theme here of recently reviewed albums, track three knocking me for six). This track is simply stunning. Not only is it a wonderful composition that shows what promise Primavera has as a writer, but from the opening notes of Brusca’s guitar intro, through to the satisfying build up and release towards the end of the tune, it is a truly captivating piece. I enjoyed it that much I had it set to “repeat” on the CD player for an hour. Throughout the album the star of the show performance wise for me, is pianist Seby Burgio. Not only does he deliver a beautiful lightness of touch, (particularly on the thoughtful, gentle title track), but he really can swing when he wants to and his wonderful playing lifts several of the tunes to a higher place. One to look out for as they say. Other stand-out tracks include the hard driving “Say Cheese” which features excellent solos from both Burgio on piano and Brusca on guitar, the enthralling, anthemic “Beco” and “Kamuth”, a daring composition infused with some very pleasant Eastern flavours.
All in all a very enjoyable album that not only showcases the talents of Emanuele Primavera as a drummer and composer, but also highlights the promise of an emerging quartet to be reckoned with.