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Saturday, February 22, 2014

CD Review: Sandro Zerafa - The Bigger Picture

Sandro Zerafa (gtr); Olivier Zanot (alt - 5 tracks); Laurent Coq (pno); Yoni Zelnik (bs); Fred Pasqua (dms).
(Review by Lance)
Malta born, Paris based guitarist Zerafa has been compared by Jazznews to Jim Hall. That was 3 years ago and since then the 38 year-old guitarist has moved on, ploughing his own furrow, albeit not without retaining much of Hall's  harmonic depth and moulding it into his own original voice. A prominent member of the Paris Jazz Underground Collective, Zarafa proves it is possible to operate in a contemporary manner without being completely divorced from the innate sense of swing so essential to a jazz performance even though it may be remote and only implied. Nevertheless, it is there.
This is particularly apparent on the 5 tracks where alto saxist Zanot, like bassist Zelnik, a fellow collective member is present. Zanot's light tone is perfectly suited to the gentle explorative nature of the music and brings to mind earlier romantics such as Konitz and Desmond. Pianist Coq, described as, One of the most audacious pianists in the European scene, is strongly featured and couples his, on this disc, elusive audacity, with his more transparent quest for melodic and harmonic perfection. 
Pasqua, a newcomer to the Paris jazz scene, slots in well and no doubt will become Un nom de foyer en milieux jazz.
Zerafa composed 8 of the 9 tracks (Jobim's The Bigger Picture being the only non-original) and proves to be equally gifted with virtual pen and 'script.
Given that music is an infinite art, these guys are as close to "the Holy Grail" as any I've heard recently.
For more details on Sandro Zerafa - The Bigger Picture visit www.sandrozerafa.com 
Lance.

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