ENG birdistheworm.com, Dave Sumner (mar.2017)
The music of Zenophilia bounces off the walls and it sings loud and far and the musicians play with an enthusiasm that sounds like they’ve got the widest grins on their faces for every single exciting note. The trio of drummer Zeno De Rossi, saxophonist Piero Bittolo Bon and trombonist Filippo Vignato channel their odd melodies with a hyperactivity that gives them a strange allure, warped and reshaped at high speeds. Most illuminating is “Cats (for Joey Baron)” when the trio deconstructs their winning formula by slowly cracking open the heart of their melodicism in the song’s first third, then isolating their methods for discombobulating a tempo in the song’s middle third, before bringing it all back together at normal speed for the remainder of the song’s duration.
The trio is situated in a modern jazz territory where post-bop edge and indie-rock drive feed into the dual needs for edgy personalities and a fierce melodic perspective. That said, they bring in other influences, and each with more than a little success. There’s the gospel overtones of “The Daniel Quinn Theme” and the spirit of New Orleans on “Henry Zeno” and the West Coast groove of “Baboo,” and each of them add wrinkles of personality to a recording that’s got plenty to spare.
Most of the tunes are upbeat and move with a brisk tempo that isn’t made to dawdle. Thankfully, however, they do switch things up occasionally. “Theme From Taxi Driver” has a moody presence, and the shadows grow long on “Red Bird (for Sergio Candotti),” but then it’s up bright and early with the sunrise cheerfulness of “Marionette” and the zig-zagging “Catfight.” And all of it screams fun.