In a year when outstanding musical output is showing just how productive and creative artists can be when faced with diversity, pianist and composer Marco Tranchina delivers the delightful More Than Ever.
Tranchina’s quintet - Smät Five - take on these original compositions that speak of a be bop tradition, yet one born from the Covid-19 pandemic. Tranchina himself is justifiably a sought-after and well-respected pianist in his adopted home of London. On More Than Ever, he demonstrates outstanding skills in composing, performing, leading and improvising.
Tranchina is a newcomer to the Ubuntu Music record label, and he is joined in Smät Five by some of the most active Italian musicians on the London jazz scene - Mikele Montolli (bass), Filippo Galli (drums), Andrea Solarino (guitar) and Alan Short (alto sax). The quintet is fairly new, but they’re clearly a match for each other. This is jazz that is rhythmically and melodically both solid and exciting.
Watch the official video for the title track, More Than Ever, here:
Whether you listen to More Than Ever in order or on shuffle, there’s a lot to listen out for. Tranchina’s piano blossoms above the bass and drums, while it flies alongside the guitar and sax lines. Clearly, this is a group that listens to each other, swapping musical ideas and motifs into a stunning whole.
There is something intrinsically British about this album, and yet the Italian roots of all five musicians shine through. Ubuntu has a major find on its hands and this is one album to keep exploring as it delivers more on each hearing.