Gianni Savelli Media Res’s ALISEI is a superb album.

Alfa Music

Gianni Savelli – Tenor Saxophone; Fulvio Sigurtà – Trumpet; Enrico Zanisi – Piano; Luca Pirozzi – Electric Bass; Alessandro Marzi – Drums, Percussion

Orchestra (Tracks 2 & 4)

Matteo Costanzi – Trumpet; Roman Villanueva – Trumpet; Danilo Bughetti – Trumpet, Flugelhorn; Francesco Marsigliese – Trumpet, Flugelhorn; Remo Izzi – French Horn; Enzo De Rosa – Trombone; Walter Fantozzi – Trombone; Eugenio Renzetti – Trombone; Roberto Pecorelli – Bass Trombone; Andrea Pace – Soprano Saxophone; Feruccio Corsi – Alto Saxophone; Franco Marinacci – Baritone Saxophone; Alessandra Finocchioli – Flute; Lorenzo Corsi – Alto Flute; Gianpaolo Ghiani – Clarinet; Giulio Barbieri – Bass Clarinet; Marco Corsini – English Horn

Gianni Savelli has been called one of Italy’s most eclectic saxophone players. He has had his hand in making pop music, film scores, jazz, and theater productions. In 2000 he formed Gianni Savelli Media Res. ALISEI is their fourth album. Alisei, or trade winds, helped 16th- century sailors explore the world. Savelli said the new album draws parallels between those natural forces and the search for the energy that sustains creativity when you’re exploring unfamiliar musical landscapes.

Gianni Savelli Media Res are a group very much influenced by the classical European tradition, but they are good at incorporating elements from the jazz realm. Savelli’s compositions celebrate the wonders of nature, and the group is involved in environmental initiatives. The group has worked with the World Wildlife Fund to advance the science of water conservation.

Roberto Rossellini’s very first film was inspiration for ‘Melodia Sottomarina.’ The film is a tale of two fish in an aquarium. Savelli said he imagined a movement that went to the ocean depths, and even in complete darkness, discovered stunning new life. Like waves, the music ebbs and flows.

The rhythmic clicking of drums and percussion mimics the intricate communication of dolphins. Enrico Zanisi’s repeated playing of a single piano note is akin to the sonar ping of a submarine. This is not an ode to ocean noise. Savelli’s symphonic composition is intricately beautiful music. The quintet shines. Fulvio Sigurtà is superb on trumpet. I like what Enrico Zanisi does on piano.

‘Alisei, ’the title track, may be the prettiest tune on the album. Electric bassist Luca Pirozzi is incredible. His bass sounds like a guitar. His tone is gorgeous. Zanisi is playing jazzier piano here. Savelli and Sigurtà turn in fine solos. Drummer Alessandro Marzi has a refined touch and impeccable timing.

A seventeen-piece orchestra play on two cuts. ‘Naufragar m’è dolce in questo mar ’comes from the poem, ‘L’Infinito ’by Giacomo Leopardi. Savelli’s tenor sounds cool and in charge. There are changes in tempo and in the dynamics. There is a lot of brass. Savelli’s sophisticated compositions are very cinematic.

‘Delicati Effendi ’also features the orchestra. This is dedicated to trumpeter Aldo Bassi, a friend, and one of the original members of Media Res. About halfway through this ten minute piece Sigurtà shows what he can do on trumpet. There are beautiful legato phrases. He easily hits the crystal clear high notes. His tone can be breathy or he’ll add vibrato to a phrase. He triple tongues.

Gianni Savelli said he formed Media Res because he wanted to combine all his different musical experiences. Gianni Savelli Media Res’s ALISEI is a superb album.