Conversion into another state, change, reduction and sometimes evolution recall what transmutation is, in the sciences. It happens that jazz lies among many other elements in conversion, improvisation, orchestration, de-orchestration, elaboration and transmutation. Italian violinist Stefano Pastor blisses us with an awesome album in which (as the alchemist) he inspires, converts, improvises, orchestrates /de-orchestrates and transmutes. He creates ... Transmutations.
Transmutations is also host to some outstanding artists: bassist Piero Leveratto, trombonist Stefano Calcagno and drummer Maurizio Borgia, to form with Stefano Pastor a quartet in which this unusual instrumentation seems to smear the bar line and convert Pastor’s six vivid pieces of art into an abstracted orchestration.
Whereas "Seul B" begins in a boppy notion, the quartet evinces in a lyrical sense ranging from cloudy sophistication to perplexing stateliness. "In Nel Blue Dipinto, Di Blues" Pastor soars over a tonal ravelment of Leveratto’s staccato on a salient melody coupled with superb drums/string duets. Quoting Mozart, "Don Juan" is a device that has equal shivery territory broken up by compendious rhythmic passages serving as vehicles for a dramatic, collective empathy. In contrast, with "Quarentena", they move into a new realm that is just joyful and a distinctive interpretation of Brazilian music. Later "Diformisme" unfolds assorted melodious spaces. Leveratto's strings quiz with dexterity on Pastor's "Vucciria" with bold violin and momentous trombone.
Both violin and trombone criminally swing on Ornette Coleman’s "Bird Food". The quartet works wildly and lyrically, decorated with strings, sticks and horn. Pastor’s poignant violin dominates the intervals on John Coltrane's "Crescent". Styne and Cahn’s "I Fall In Love Too Easily" is magically interpreted, leading to a wonderful pas de deux strings. Pastor’s handiwork ends in a singing rendition of Jobim's "Esquecendo Voce", impregnated with a touch of violin and bass playing doleful euphonies accompanying Pastor’s despairing voice.
Transmutations is a music that touches with its intimacy, its fraternity, its simple proximity and truth. Pastor converts and transmutes, and he surprises with the obvious: a state of grace which one could obtain or not maintain by force. Stefano Pastor’s violin promises sumptuous musical inspirations.