ENG JazzViews UK, Chris Baber (apr.2018)

Following their debut (as a trio) CD (‘These Human Beings’), Pericopes + 1 return with a new edge to their sound. They keep the same commitment to a philosophy of playing which my previous review on JazzViews called crisp and clean, and they still produce well-crafted post-bop tunes. There is a coda to the title track (track 5, ‘Legacy’), which mingles voices from musical luminaries as diverse as David Bowie, Jaco Pastorius and Chuck Berry (the band helpfully provide a list of names in the liner notes) talking about making music. From this a couple of phrases neatly capture the ways that the band defines as the legacy from musicians across a range of styles, and the ways that the tunes on this CD work: ‘their own way of fracturing reality’ and ‘music is music’. The majority of the tunes on this set are Sgobbio compositions, and it is interesting to see how these tunes developed the ideas of fractured rhythm and gentle harmonies that characterised the first CD.
In the time since their last CD they have toured extensively (despite being based in Italy, France and America). On this set, Vernizzi’s playing has developed to a point where he is delighting in exploring the sounds and textures that he can produce on the tenor sax. Having seen them play live a couple of times, perhaps the word ‘developed’ is misplaced here as this is something that he is clearly keen on doing, but perhaps this recording captures it in richer detail than the debut. Added to the different textures on the sax, Sgobbio’s piano playing combines the rich kaleidoscopes of notes that characterised the first CD with the Fender Rhodes. The Rhodes adds some burbling bass this helps create a groove under some of the pieces, but is used sparingly, often enough to hint at this before dropping out and letting the listener retain this in memory as the piece unfolds and Sgobbio revert to his mix of stab chords and elegant runs. Equally, Wright’s drumming continues to evolve a dizzying mix of a bass accompaniment (with deeper tones marking tempo) and a melodic counterpoint (on the higher part of the kit).
On a side note, I puzzled over the photos of the Manhattan project on the first CD, but the cover on this one of a lady of a certain age in spangly bikini top has me completely nonplussed. Having no idea how to interpret the cover, I can only recommend highly the music contained therein.