Bologna born, Boston based saxophonist Marco Pignataro’s ZOHO debut Almas Antiguas (“Old Souls”) is more than simply an wide ranging, eclectic stroll through a multitude of exotic, percussive global landscapes with greats Alan Pasqua (piano), Adam Cruz (drums) and Eddie Gomez (bass). It’s a heartfelt, alternately reflective and exuberant, multi-generational celebration of the love that flows through his culturally rich Italian and Puerto Rican bloodlines.
Though it travels far and wide both musically and geographically – from the title track bolero and touches of flamenco and classical to samba, Argentine music, a Mallorcan lullaby and Puerto Rican quasi-bomba – everything is deeply rooted in a fresh, dynamic modern jazz sensibility.
And while the multi-movement (sometimes within the same composition!) bouncing is fascinating and keeps the ears attentive to every twist and turn, the emotional core of this prodigious collection strikes us on two lower key tracks: the gentle sax-piano lament “Letter To My Son” and “Song for Lucy,” the smoky, lilting ballad paying homage to the strength and grace of Pignataro’s beloved wife.