Guido Spannocchi ‘Perihelion’ LP/CD (Audioguido) 4/5

‘Perihelion’ is the new album from saxophonist Guido Spannocchi released through his own Audioguido Records label.

Born in Vienna but ultimately finding his passion for jazz drawing him to London, Spannocchi has since immersed himself within the UK’s revived appetite for jazz music. In the last few years, a huge amount of UK Vibe scribes – myself included – have marvelled at the incredible range of jazz artists that have sprung up within the UK and since achieved staggering amounts of success. It’s a move that’s been met with something of a fervent crowd as well keen to continually lose themselves within the next discovery.

And from within that hot-bed of London-based talent comes an artist like Spannocchi who is steadily amassing a thrilling catalogue of which his new release, ‘Perihelion’, sits incredibly high. Having studied at Conservatoire of Vienna and Université Paris VIII, much of Spannocchi’s appeal comes from his desire to continually visualise new and exciting approaches to his music – be that through a variety of varying arrangements and musicians or through inspired new concepts and inspirations…

‘Song of the Wild Chanterelle’ paired Spannocchi with drummer Aram Zarikian and spoken word artist Kevin Brophy for something of a trippy, electronica-tinged gem; ‘Terms & Conditions’ saw an awesome team assembled for the high-energy compositions brought to life by Japanese bassist Mao Yamada along with drummer Cyro Zuzi and bassist Matheus Nova from Brazil. ‘Elevated Music’ introduced pianist Rupert Cox and studio wizard Capitol K on drum machines for a rejuvenated and contemporary take on classic jazz stylings for last year’s six-track release once again highlighting Spannocchi’s desire to reposition those boundaries around him each time.

What’s instantly noticeable about ‘Perihelion’ however is the world-class talent that comprises the project’s ensemble – revered pianist Robert Mitchell, trumpeter Jay Phelps, saxophonist Sylvie Leys, bassist Michelangelo Scandroglio and drummer Tristan Banks… all with a wealth of talent, experience and accolades between them and coming together for this project to make a thrilling combination.

The sound throughout is rich and vibrant – ‘Uphill Blues’ kicks the project off with an excellent groove that is carried over brilliantly to ‘Key Drop’ and ‘Cafezinho’. Spannocchi’s penchant for capturing that unadulterated energy between himself and his fellow performers works a real treat with ‘Perihelion’ – it’s what makes a song like ‘A Walk in Yoyogi Park’ a real joy, even when it comes to one of the album’s ballads like ‘Das Ist Die Frage’ which is beautifully presented and a track that is the perfect canvas for Mitchell’s keys. It isn’t an album that outstays its welcome either – at nine tracks and clocking in at 33 minutes, you certainly would be more than happy to have squeezed another fifteen minutes or so out of it but ultimately the current runtime makes the project no less of a gem as a result.

‘Perihelion’ is not only a wonderful release from a dream line-up – dare I say it – the album is quite possibly Guido Spannocchi’s masterpiece.

Imran Mirza