Sardinian progressive-jazz saxophonist Enzo Favata may not be a familiar name on these American shores, but he’s consistently offered quality work spanning a few decades and is an artist who has quite a bit to say. He’s a superb musician, and a keen idea man who merges Mediterranean folk with cutting-edge jazz while venturing towards the avant schema on occasion.
With his tentet and Tenores di Bitti vocal quartet appearing within various movements, Favata sets his musical mindset on the 1970s, which he notes as a period that "celebrated the great black music, increased interest in popular culture, musical innovation, and the dreams of freedom shared by disillusioned youth." Here, Favata and is band, merge memorably melodic theme sequences with verve and off-kilter diversions, spiced with EFX, and various modes of integrating modern and traditional song-forms.
The ensemble mixes it up via bustling pulses, as the vocalists ethereal chants and lyricism, are executed during key intervals throughout. Frisky horns charts and expansion pave the way for the soloists intriguing dialogues, where they skirt the free-zone and render a brute-force attack in spots. Yet, the hard-edged jazz parts are countered with melodic choruses and steamy treatments.
On "The Night of Boes and Merdules," they intertwine quietude with blaring passages as the musicians create tension, which may equate to the social plights and inequities witnessed by black performers over the years. Therefore, Favata’s latest musical journey yields an abundance of stinging abstracts, woven into a comprehensive and entertaining sun of the parts.