Simona Premazzi - Outspoken

Label/Year: 2017

Lineup - Simona Premazzi: piano; Dayna Stephens: saxophones; Joe Martin: bass; Nasheet Waits: drums + guests Jeremy Pelt: trumpet; Sara Serpa: vocals.

Italian-born, New York-based pianist/composer Simona Premazzi aligns a bunch of interesting compositions, mostly original material, in her fourth outing, Outspoken, recorded with a gifted quartet whose respected members are Dayna Stephens on saxophones, Joe Martin on bass, and Nasheet Waits on drums.

A pair of decorous guest musicians joins the group on a couple of tracks, adding extra color to the diversified sonic palette employed by the pianist. They are trumpeter Jeremy Pelt, who besides producing the record also shows off his powerful and articulated jazz dialect on “Peltlude”, a song written with his inspirational musicality in mind, and the Portuguese singer Sara Serpa, who takes on the words of Harold Pinter’s poem to push “It Is Here” into unearthly spheres.

Ms. Premazzi prepares a soft blend of classical and jazz elements to be delivered in trio format on the opening tune, “Euterpe's Dance". This same tune also closes the album, with the pianist embarking on a lyrical duet with Martin.

Sustained by a static energy, “Premaxity” shines through Stephens’ communicative remarks while “Up On A. Hill” underpins colorful tango-ish impressions created by Premazzi’s expressive comping, and placed between interesting sectional passages linked to each other with precise coordination and observant sensitivity. Stephens’s improvisation pokes Waits, who reacts and converses by employing graceful rhythmic touches. Like the saxophonist, Premazzi draws the same reaction as she picks up the road of improvised spontaneity.

On “Digression”, one finds lush chords, delicate melodies crafted on soprano saxophone, and a sluggish, non-imposing rhythmic flux, suitable to receive Martin’s pinched bass solo.

A totally different feel comes out of the agile melodic conduction observed in “Blakonian Groove”, a showcase for the call-response strategy adopted by Premazzi and Stephens, who wrote the piece for the drummer Johnathan Blake. Vaulting bass lines and bustling drumming limn the rest of this sonic portrayal.

If the rendition of Billy Strayhorn’s classic ballad “Lush Life” didn’t impress me much, “Later Ago” did, with the stylish, effervescent, and emphatic avant-folk-jazz exhibited.

Outspoken is a pleasant follow up to The Lucid Dreamer, released in 2013 on Inner Circle Music, and exposes the crescent maturity and evolution in the way Ms. Premazzi composes, arranges, and plays.

          Grade  B

         Grade B

Favorite Tracks:
02 - Premaxity ► 03 - Up On A. Hill ► 09 - Later Ago