Andrea Veneziani Trio – Oltreoceano

Oltreoceano, Italian for “overseas,” is all about meeting challenges. The Andrea Veneziani Trio’s recording marks the double bassist’s debut as a leader and represents a dip in the New York pool for the Tuscany-born player.

Along with Veneziani, the trio includes pianist Kenny Werner and drummer Ross Pederson.

Veneziani arrived in New York in the summer of 2009 on a scholarship from the Fulbright Commission for Educational and Cultural Exchange between his native Italy and the United States. Since then, he’s been stacking up accolades and turning heads with performances at Blue Note, Fat Cat, Smoke, and Smalls.

With Oltreoceano, Veneziani has a chance to reflect on the last couple of years through sensitive arrangements that display his penchant for composition.

After a brief interlude, the album opens with “Night Flight.” The piece is a Veneziani original presented in 3/4 time. It is light and opens with delicate piano before the entrances of Veneziani and Pederson set up an easy groove. The double bassist’s playing is warm.

Another Veneziani original, “In Viaggio con Te (Travelling with You),” invokes a number of time signature shifts. It moves effortlessly from a melodic opening waltz to 5/4, 7/4 and 4/4, all while keeping its pure tone and delightful musicality.

Veneziani’s trio also pays homage in the right places, like with Charlie Parker’s “Segment.” The piece is clearly taken through a Bill Evans filter and it sizzles with energy and off-kilter swing, buoyantly featuring Werner’s keys as they glide through the familiar melody. Veneziani stretches out and Pederson’s pace keeps a healthy trot.

“It’s really about interplay,” says Veneziani. “I had listened to a lot of Bill Evans’ piano trio recordings during my years of studies. Bassists in those kinds of groups have more space – Scott LaFaro, Marc Johnson, all the bass players who played with Bill Evans always had the chance to play longer solos and counter points lines.”

With a firm sense of jazz history and a desire to cross oceans of sound, Veneziani’s Oltreoceano is a swinging entry in what should be a very exciting career for the bassist.

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