The eyes have it. You may never have heard the world-class Italian pianist Giovanni Guidi in such a fiery setting. The theme is a tribute to the Argentinian saxophonist Gato Barbieri who died in 2016 who is remembered for his huge spiritual tone and for his wildly expressive tango-influenced and Coltrane-inspired work on such albums as the sensuous soundtrack for the film Last Tango in Paris and albums on the Flying Dutchman and Impulse labels. And you may additionally fail to easily forgive yourself for any number of reasons say through lack of any publicity much hitherto if this does not gravitate to the top of your listening choices at the moment immediately.
In the Gato role is free-player James Brandon Lewis who is perfect here (his Live in Willisau drummer partner Chad Taylor is also on Ojos De Gato) and gets better and better year after year as his already titanic reputation goes deservedly into interstellar overdrive. Ojos De Gato was recorded at a studio in Astoria, New York, in February last year.
Guidi also ultilises Fender Rhodes on Ojos De Gato and has a different playing profile completely to his quietly intense piano trio on say his masterpiece This Is The Day. Gianluca Petrella's trombone sound makes a telling contribution through its sheer expressiveness in key passages. Francisco Mela adds very fine latinate percussion. An album that is extremely life-affirming and is certainly one of the best group records that I have heard all year. And Guidi magisterial on a highly charged 'Laura' complete with a forest of percussion is nothing less than the icing on the cake. SG. Out today