Orazio Maugeri: alto saxophone; Salvatore Bonafede: piano; Gabrio Bevilacqua: acoustic bass; Marcello Pellitteri: drums; + guests.
Marcello Pellitteri, a sensitive drummer and experienced educator, convenes an Italian quartet composed of Orazio Maugeri on alto saxophone, Salvatore Bonafede on piano, and Gabrio Bevilacqua on acoustic bass, to homage his daughter Veronica, who passed away in 2014, at the age of 23.
Each member contributes with original compositions to Aquarius Woman an emotional record that also includes a couple of covers and poems.
A few guests join the quartet along the way, and the first doing it is the experienced tenor man George Garzone, who blew fiercely in “Chasin’ The Zone”, a straightforward post-bop tune declared with impressionistic expressiveness.
Things get lighter and smoother in “Longin”, a moderated swing song that obeys to traditional contours, as well as in the title track, where we can hear Veronica’s voice reading a poem by an Indonesian poet named Murtiningru. Also, “Remind to Live” strolls unhurriedly through peaceful pathways.
Bonafede’s “Villeneuve”, starting with a melodious sax and sparse piano chords, showcases the bandleader’s drumming skills, here culminating into a sympathetic solo. The band confidently returns to the main theme where we can hear the interpositions of Maugeri and Bonafede, filling the available spaces.
Veronica’s favorite tunes were also featured on the recording. A passionate bass prelude anticipates Alicia Keys’s “If I Ain’t Got You”, sung by Nedelka Prescod, while Stevie Wonder’s “Ribbon in the Sky” had Lauren Kinhan in charge of intonating the lyrics.
The resonant and mutable “Twenty Three” is 23 bars long with 23 notes in the melody, a peculiarity in Pellitteri’s compositional effort to homage his beloved daughter. Here, a stirring funky groove invites to explore a bit further, suggestion that Maugeri and Bonafede embraced with conviction and seriousness. They did it again in “Saxando” whose sunny disposition contrasts with a certain nostalgic melancholy evinced in “Colors On Your Face”, a pop tune spurred by unaltered drumbeats.
Pellitteri unveiled solid skills as a composer and arranger, turning Aquarius Woman into a sincere and emotive body of work that transpires hope and virtue.
I believe this was an urgent step for him as part of a natural healing process.
01 – Chasin’ The Zone ► 05 – Villeneuve ► 08 – Twenty Three