WEIGHTLESS – A Brush With Dignity

Clean Feed

Weightless is a quartet shaped by pianist Alberto Braida, bassist John Edwards, saxophonist John Butcher and drummer Fabrizio Spera. These tracks were recorded during a German tour in 2008; they show the host of dynamics and the plausibility of the chromatic choices that should ideally constitute the starting point of nowadays’ jazz, but that unfortunately have become a rare commodity instead. The initial “Apre” is characterized by restrained vitality permeated by a sincere love for dissonance, the artists’ combined sensibilities cementing the grounds of a sagacious interplay. A welcome scent of purified air and the sharp management of a concentrated palette are brought forth by the foursome in the longest and finest improvisation “Centri”, a piece that illustrates the terms “balance” and “composure” much better than a mere description. Braida’s tasteful rarefactions and Spera’s chirurgical picking of spots to drive an irregular pulse get counterbalanced by milieus defined by Butcher’s isolated phrases – the man is able to find poetry even in the harshness of splintered harmonics – and the constant, if unobtrusive support to the whole apparatus given by Edwards’ compliant propulsion, a sign of intelligence stamped in the place where average bassists would probably insert bop-ish zigzags accompanied by the grunt of their own voice pretending to repeat the lines they’re playing, which is a horrible commonplace – one of the many that this group avoids like plague. In “Vista”, the minuteness of the instrumental gesture is fundamental for the development of an all-embracing concoction of sketched circuits and barely discernible signs. The conclusive “Termo” recovers some of the no-nonsense harmonic conflicts that had been discarded in the central sections, possibly closing a circle. Again, it’s difficult to pin the details down barring pathetic frame-by-frame depictions. Let’s just say that the connection between an attentive audience and four musicians whose aerials are among the most receptive around is easily established, and that the group’s name is exactly the reverse of how this terrific album sounds.

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