Italian, self-taught drummer and keyboardist Massimo’s third solo effort is centered upon his adherence to composition, where many of the various mini-motifs are framed upon fluid rhythmical elements. On this 2008 outing, he benefits from having one of the true godfathers of jazz-fusion and film scorer, keyboardist Barry Miles to round out the solid ensemble. Here, Miles fuses a retro paradigm into the generally hard-hitting string of events via his luminescent phrasings executed on the analog mini-moog. Nonetheless, Massimo’s power drumming generates a fervent undertow to these predominately, jazz-fusion and jazz-rock pieces.
Massimo’s resonating drum sound adds a bit of depth to the grand schema. And on pieces such as "Deep Above," Miles’ golden toned and warmly melodic synth lines project a 70s style prog-rock groove, augmented by EVI (Electronic Valve Instrument) expert John Swana’s polytonal and versatile mode of attack. With knotty time signatures and a deep-bass bottom set down by Tim Lekan, the music is sometimes akin to a fluidly moving wall-of-sound, enhanced by the leader’s sampler-executed EFX. While Massimo is also a background colorist during animated and driving solos by guitarists Steve Giordano and Shawn Q.
On "Assembly Line," Miles’ slithery and trickling synth swashes are augmented by the frontline’s slickly rendered unison choruses, abetted by Swana’s momentum building solo. As the multipart and extended composition "The Visionary Suite," is designed upon a few nods from the recent prog-fusion past, where grandiose choruses attain equal ground with a ballsy, jazz-rock vamp, accelerated by Jason Shattil’s steamy Fender Rhodes solo. On the flip side of all this, Massimo’s turbo-charged 75 minutes of music might have benefitted from a bit of editing, namely when viewing the sum of the parts.
At times, I felt a sense of listening fatigue. Yet, it’s miles above and beyond a good chunk of the everyday type output many of us have been accustomed to. Solid compositions rule the roost regardless of all the technicalities. Ultimately, Massimo drives that notion home throughout this perceptively engineered feast for the ears.