Giovanni Moltoni

(C#2 Productions)

Review by Brad Walseth

Guitarist/composer Giovanni Moltoni is also an associate professor in ear training at Berklee and on his third outing, he proves he has an ear for appealing sounds. Backed by his usual live group of the last two years, Moltoni pairs his guitar with synth to create an inviting musical landscape. Trumpeter Greg Hopkins is his primary melodic counterpart, while electric bassist Fernando Huergo and drummer Bob Tamagni sparkle as a rhythm section. Not to say Huergo doesn't add to the harmonies with his active and melodic riffing.

The overall atmosphere is one of modern melodic jazz with a nice airy feel and a balance of pleasant tones ("While We Wait," "Moonlight") with moments of edgy band interplay ("Once More," "New Home"). Moltoniís guitar swims like rippling waves through the warm synth washes, while Hopkins, Huergo and Tamagni complement the aura with their sensitive approach to making music. Huergo even mirrors his leaderís smooth shimmer on his bass at times. This is easy listening music for intelligent and mature listeners.

"The Search" sounds like a moody spy movie soundtrack set piece that morphs into a jam, while "On a Summer Day" sounds as if a carnival were about to break out. The CD ends with two long compositions. The haunting "Mystery Box" has a Middle Eastern flavor enhanced by Hopkinsí Miles-like muted horn. The energetic "Blindsided" sounds more like a standard jazz quartet in action and is a nice way to end this compelling outing on a high note.

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