Lorenzo Feliciati – Frequent Flyer (2012)

Share this:

As one of the more talked about fusion records of last year, Naked Truth’s Shizaru put four established maestros from jazz, rock and avant garde words in the same studio, resulting in an album that pulled in creative streams from all of these music worlds into a purposeful, distinctive and provocative body of work. Deftly utilizing the talents of trumpeter Cuong Vu, drummer Pat Mastelotto, keyboardist Roy Powell and bassist Lorenzo Feliciati, Naked Truth is a cooperative in that sense, but the guiding hand belongs to Feliciati.

With only one studio album, one live album and that one ensemble album under his belt, Feliciati has established himself as a worldwide-recognized electric bassist, and now comes the follow up to the Naked Truth project. As only his second official studio album, Frequent Flyer can be considered the “Lorenzo Feliciati And Friends” record, as each track hosts a different guest star or two either from Feliciati’s native Italy scene or an international jazz/fusion luminary, making each track distinctive.

Yet, if there was any question as to whether Naked Truth was essentially a Feliciati record with the sidemen playing at an elevated status, the similar-sounding Frequent Flyer should dispel any doubts. For much of the record, there’s that same, spacey, ambient and sleek production found on Shizaru, but the constantly shifting lineups and song structures set up the challenges that Feliciati takes on with poise, resulting in a record that never gets too comfortable with itself and, even has some fun. As an enthusiastic disciple of Jaco Pastorius, Feliciati can be expected to brandish his huge chops, but Jaco was also a more complete musician who paid close attention to melody and composition, two things that don’t get ignored here.

Yellowjackets saxophonist Bob Mintzer trades solos with Feliciati on “The Fastwing Park Rules,” but the song itself is its own entity, floating through the changes over an atmospheric mood. Even more overtly ambient is the track that features Naked Truth comrade Cuong Vu, along with DJ Skizo on turntables; “Never Forget” wouldn’t be at all out of place on a Jon Hassell record. Mastelotto appears on two cuts, the strings-accompanied “93” and more prominently on “Riding The Orient Express,” where he doubles on both acoustic and electronic drums. Powell engages with Feliciati and percussionist Paulo La Rosa in the most intimate song of the collection, “Groove First.” It’s here where the bassist best combines his dexterity on his instrument with a complex but compelling harmony over a snaky Third World rhythm, and the whole vibe is very 70’s.

“Gabus & Gradates” also steps out of the ordinary by including the violin of Andrea Di Cesare and surprisingly, a percolating bass solo performed by someone else (Patrick Djivas). Wayne Shorter’s “Footprints” is another can’t-skip track, set to unrelenting African beats from the drumming duo of Stefano Bagnoli and Maxx Furian, and the both the crucial bass line and masterly theme played interchangeably by Feliciati.

So where’s this fun I was talking about? Feliciati might tell you that the whole thing was fun, but it’s most obvious at the end, when he pays homage to one of his favorite bands King Crimson with a crisp, jaunty—and indeed, bass-centered—rendition of “Thela Hun Ginjeet” (YouTube above).

Frequent Flyer goes on sale March 27, courtesy of RareNoiseRecords.

[amazon_enhanced asin=”B007I6OWJY” /] [amazon_enhanced asin=”B007FEF7SE” /] [amazon_enhanced asin=”B000HA3QM2″ /] [amazon_enhanced asin=”B000CAKZWQ” /] [amazon_enhanced asin=”B00572MTXC” /]

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron is an SQL demon for a Fortune 100 company by day, music opinion-maker at night. His musings are strewn out across the interwebs on jazz.com, AllAboutJazz.com, a football discussion board and some inchoate customer reviews of records from the late 1990s on Amazon under a pseudonym that will never be revealed. E-mail him at svaaron@somethingelsereviews .com or follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SVictorAaron
S. Victor Aaron

Latest posts by S. Victor Aaron (see all)

Share this: