Anderson • Vinaccia • Smith

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Anderson,Smith,Vinaccia
LABELS: ECM
ALBUM TITLE: Anderson • Vinaccia • Smith
WORKS: Mira
PERFORMER: Arild Anderson (bass); Paolo Vinaccia (drums); Tommy Smith (saxophone)
CATALOGUE NO: 372 8782

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This is the best ‘Norwegian-Italian-Scottish-album’ I’ve heard for a long time. Indeed, I’d grant it masterpiece status. Recorded in Oslo’s Rainbow Studios, the sound is clean and sharply focused, without sacrificing warmth and intimacy. This is important, as bassist Andersen and saxist Smith have such rich, expressive tones, and Vinaccia is a subtle drummer, with a proper concern for texture and mood, insinuating living pulses rather than rigid beats. Andersen’s use of electronics is delicate and thoughtful.

The compositions and performances are founded on an ascetic elegance, whether their primary mood is melancholic, funky, romantic, passionate, anguished or jaunty. Andersen’s tone and lines sidle out of the speakers and hug you. Smith evokes classic balladeers like Ben Webster and the great experimental post-bop figures with equal vividness, but always sounds individual and personal. He even makes Bacharach’s ‘Alfie’ sound good enough to stand beside Sonny Rollins’s unjustly neglected score for that film.

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Barry Witherden