Fabrizio Cucco | For a brief moment So, I started writing and in a short time the work took shape. I first called Maurizio Giammarco, with whom I had had the honor of working some time before; later I called Roberto Gatto, who I met in the corridors of Saint Louis College of Music; finally, I called Pierpaolo Principato, my teacher and colleague, to whom I owe the love for improvisation and composition. I had, therefore, put on my project and shortly thereafter the work passed from the rehearsal room to the recording studio".
Fabrizio Cucco | For a brief moment The concept was born in a difficult but also decisive period of my life, a period in which I was questioning everything, including myself. I felt for the first time the need to compose a music that described, albeit without words, the anxieties, fears but also the amazement of a moment in which I saw myself change, discovering things about me that I did not yet know.
Liner notes by Vincenzo Martorella
The first four notes. Have you ever noticed how important they are? How can they guide our listening experiences? According to some, it would be precisely the first perceived sounds to represent a small scale model of the entire composition, and to guide us within the inspirational processes of the composer and musicians. A few years ago, a beautiful book, entitled "The First Four Notes", by Matthew Guarnieri, wondered about the incipit of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony: those four sounds, so clear and so significant, from which everything originates and develops.
But is it really possible to grasp of a song, or a record, or a work, the deep essence simply by listening to the first four notes, or just a fragment, a sound clove?
Try to do it with the song that opens this surprising album by the young bassist Fabrizio Cucco, rising star of Italian jazz. "Four Libras", it is entitled, and from the first moments, after a short drum intro – a quiet raise of the curtain, light as a nod of understanding – the music unfolds softly, punctuated by two chords: piano, electric bass and drums, to draw the setting of the piece. If you listen to each chord, the way they rest on time – the sound occupies sound space, expresses a different duration – almost seems to sink into the air, as if it were a gravitational center around which timbre satellites orbit. Then, after eight measures of intro, comes the saxophone by Maurizio Giammarco, lyrical, elegant, to expose a theme of a few notes (the first sentence counts four ...): two sections, before the beginning of the solos. Yet there is something strange, something mobile: in certain passages something seems to be missing, as in a lightning moment of disorientation. What happened?
It happened that while we were intent on measuring the distances between one agreement and another, to become aware of how rich and generous was the way of formulating, of delivering the sonic matter by the four musicians, we missed the trick, prepared by Cucco with the mastery of the great illusionists: a very mobile (asim)metric structure , a bit crooked, with dissimilar durations, almost smozzicata, absolutely impossible to notice, attracted as we are by that gravitational center of which we said a few lines higher. At the end of the spell, the song gives a new twist, because the sequence of solos abandons that slightly bumpy path to launch into a structure that only after a few seconds we will recognize as a minor blues, although ingeniously harmonically camouflaged.
In short: from the first four notes to the first minute of music, Fabrizio Cucco, at the head of a real All-Star band (Maurizio Giammarco, Pierpaolo Principato and Roberto Gatto) shows that to embody the highest common denominator of this record are the balance, the harmonic precision, the sense of measure, the ability to surprise. Who knows about astrology, has already recognized in those characteristics the distinctive signs of men born under the sign of the libra. And, in fact, "le Four Libras" to which the song refers are not pounds, nor four specimens of facebook cryptocurrency: "libra", in this case, is Libra, understood as a zodiac sign. Fabrizio tells, in fact, that during a break, the four musicians realized that they shared the same sign, from which, in fact, the title of the song.
An involuntary reflection that outlines a constellation of clues, tracks scattered along the entire path of an album that never ceases to surprise. Because Cucco writes with the wisdom of a veteran, and the audacity of an experimenter, giving shape and life to a contemporary jazz, with decisive traits, with eyes to the future and feet firmly planted in the most modern of traditions (a name above all: Wayne Shorter). Each song, then, composes a larger mosaic, in which the bassist tells, narrates, expresses stories, places, ideas. But it is not – as you hear and read a little too often – a soundtrack for imaginary films. If it is true that there are no facts but moods, those of Fabrizio Cucco, if anything, are descriptions of interior landscapes, collateral reflections.
There are still two aspects to be analysed. The first is: Fabrizio Cucco as bassist; and here it would be enough to listen (carefully) to the first four notes of "Orion "(a song that tells of his interest in the stars and the mechanisms of the universe) to grasp the superfine technique (a very complicated arpeggio, in seven octaves), the very personal sound capable of escaping from the bass clichés of our present, that precious articulation that only the great ones have. Beyond the technique, Cucco is also a solid companion, he knows how to be gregarious when needed because he knows how to listen and interact with his fellow travelers. In fact, Cucco proves to have the shape of the leader: at the head of a star formation, he set up and realized the project with a sure hand, always having the exact perception of where to be, at any time.
Finally, a nod – even if they deserve entire books – to the formidable travel companions. If about Giammarco (increasingly exciting sound and phrasing) and Gatto (here as a pure accompanist, as a great drummer as he can be) it is impossible to add something, one more word for Pierpaolo Principato, a very refined pianist, with a precious touch and unexpected ideas.
After the first four, we can now finally listen to all the other notes.