Saturday 27 January 2024

'Eclipse' by Gianluca Vigliar

Gianluca Vigliar makes a welcome return to the A.MA Records fold with the release of his third full-length project, 'Eclipse'.

It's been a little over three years since Vigliar's last effort came to us in the form of 'Plastic Estrogenus' - an excellent and impassioned album that added its name to the increasingly longer list of contemporary jazz artists striving to bring awareness to environmental concerns including climate change and global warming.  It's genuinely inspiring to see such issues permeate through as musical talking points by so many young names impacted by a frightening future we appear to be hurtling towards.

Projects by Tori Handsley ('As We Stand', 2020) and Joshua Jaswon Octet ('Polar Waters', 2023) serve as definitive standouts as does Vigliar's own 'Plastic Estrogenus' of course which sought to raise awareness to the dangers of increasing levels of plastic found in the oceans.  The album's title itself referencing the effect that plastic toxins have specifically on humans.

For 'Eclipse', the saxophonist and composer seeks to continue his environmental message but this time turns his attention from the sea to the sky.  Very high in the sky as Vigliar addresses man's burgeoning interference in space and the costly imprint that our technologies, satellites and overall litter can have as a result.  Currently, it is estimated that space junk has accumulated more than 200 tons of rubbish with the quantity set to steadily increase.

Vigliar's message is typically backed by an excellent selection of musicians which, for 'Eclipse', includes long-time collaborator and drummer for all of Vigliar's albums to date, Marco Valeri, and US bassist and former Roy Hargrove collaborator Ameen Saleem.  Pianist Domenico Senna's inclusion is particularly welcome seeing as prior Vigliar releases - including his debut 'FraGia', 'Plastic Estrogenus' and even his Vigliar G Trio from back in 2012 - have all presented his music via piano-less formations.  Senna's exquisite playing throughout is a real highlight particularly for long-time listeners of Vigliar's music who should relish in the sublime new dimension that the instrument now affords.

But everything here fits so beautifully - Saleem's hypnotic performance throughout the sensational nine-minute title track (renamed 'Eclypse') again serves as another high point in an album filled with elegant compositions, lush interplay between the artists and some overall captivating songs.  The gentle swing of 'Fe-On' at nine and a half minutes again ensnares you from beginning to end as does 'Mani Di Fata' and the perfect closing number, 'Lost Ocean'.

We actually concluded our review of 'Plastic Estrogenus' three years ago by saying we looked forward to seeing where inspiration takes Vigliar next and it's absolutely fair to say that he has far exceeded anyone's expectations.  Having now explored matters of the cosmos, we can't imagine what will be next for Vigliar but it's no doubt a journey we're looking forward to taking.

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