LORENZO FELICIATI — Frequent Flyer (review)

LORENZO FELICIATI — Frequent Flyer album cover Album · 2012 · Nu Jazz Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
Lorenzo Feliciati is a virtuoso bassist and member of the all-star modern jazz-rock ensemble Naked Truth. His newest album, “Frequent Flyer”, is an interesting eclectic mix that varies between showcases for his extremely fleet fingered bass work and more somber numbers in a semi-ambient nu jazz style. The guests vary per song, but most tunes feature small ensembles recorded without over-dubs to create very clean and minimal sounding mixes where each player’s contributions and lines can be clearly heard. With the varying makeup of the ensembles, each song becomes its own little unique world.

Fans of the late Jaco Pastorius will find much to like on numbers like “Groove First” where Lorenzo’s formidable technique on the bass takes center stage. Although there are some similarities to the great Jaco, there is a smooth fluidness to Lorenzo’s playing that is uniquely his. He makes some of the most difficult passages sound effortless, and his tendency to connect notes with smooth legato slides is barely noticed unless you listen closely. The combination of virtuoso bass playing and ambient textures may also remind some of Percy Jones.

On other cuts, Feliciati’s technique takes a back seat to creating unique instrumental colors that almost sound like the modern jazz version of the old Eno ambient pop-rock albums of the 70s. Many of these songs eschew standard verse-chorus structures and instead feature flowing compositions that glide from section to section with no clear linear purpose. This lack of predictable structure adds much to these songs appeal and helps keep them interesting after several listens. On “Riding the Orient Express” Lorenzo plays a haunting melancholy melody on the fretless that recalls some of Bill Laswell’s best work on albums like “Speak No Evil”.

Other outstanding cuts include “Never Forget” on which trumpeter Cuong Vu floats somber notes over an ominous ambient background that recalls the quiet moments on Miles’ “Agharta” album, and “The White Shadow Story” with its dub beat and electronic string sounds from DJ Skizzo and virtuoso jazz guitar runs from Daniele Gottardo. This album definitely gets stronger towards the end as the instrumental tracks began to flow together and one loses track of the individual songs. This is a great album that should hold a lot of interest for fans of modern fusion bass playing, as well as fans of instrumental music influenced by the nu jazz sound.
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