ENG DMG Newsletter, Bruce Lee Gallanter (oct.2011)

This is an amazing quintet featuring two Italian greats, a fine French cellist plus an auspicious American rhythm team. Although this is the first time I’ve heard of Mr. Beltrami, Mr. Bearzatti can be found on some half dozen plus discs on the Splasch, Philology & Auand labels. Vincent Courtois has worked with Louis Sclavis, Sylvie Courvoisier and Stefano Battaglia. Fretless electric bass giant Stomu Takeishi has longed worked with Henry Threadgill, as well as with Myra Melford & Dave Tronzo. Drum great Jim Black is of course one of Downtown’s most well-regarded musicians from Pachora to Bloodcount to his own AlasNoAxis.
Mr. Beltrami wrote all but of the pieces on this disc, the last being a group improv. The title of this disc, ‘ Paroxysmal Postural Vertigo’ is a medical disorder that causes a type of dizziness which Mr. Beltrami had when he composed the music for this disc. This makes sense to me since complex music such as this does make one a bit dizzy trying to figure it out. Beltrami writes strong groove oriented songs with sympathetic harmonies for the guitar, sax and cello to play. “BPPV” features a great melodic riff which will have you whistling in no time with those infectious splashing drums that Jim Black excels in. Each song has a riff to remember with a great groove as well. Although the sax and guitar solos are consistently spirited, it is those swell rock/jazz melodies that stand out throughout. On “Mind the Mind!”, Bearzatti’s clarinet, Courtois’ cello and Beltrami’s guitar play an elegant chamber melody with grace and warmth while the bass & drums play softly underneath. This music seems to have more in common with contemporary rock music (like Radiohead or Wilco) than with most jazz although Bearzatti’s sax and Coutois’ cello both take great solos which are in between any established genres. A solid debut nonetheless.