Review: Renato D’Aiello Satori Album Launch at Pizza Express Dean St



Review: Renato D'Aiello - Satori Album Launch (Pizza Express Dean St., 10th October 2012. Review By Rob Edgar)

Renato D’Aiello has a completely engaging on-stage presence, both in his character and in his playing. He welcomed the audience in both English and Italian before introducing his band: Bruno Montrone on piano, Nicola Muresu on bass and Enzo Zirilli on drums.

The band was joined by a string quartet featuring Violeta Barrena, Olivia Scheepers, Meghan Cassidy, and Alice Hoskins. Renato’s Bossa I Wish had definite undertones of Desafinado but his lush, dense string writing gave it a sound not unlike a full string orchestra playing a Bernard Herrmann film score, but with soft, smooth, legato sax lines bleeding in an out of the widely spaced, dense strings.

In this band Renato has found a collection of very like minded souls; in the first ballad of the night, Bruno Montrone played a Bill Evans-esque solo, clearly inspired by the late master but also the impressionistic shades of Debussy or Ravel. Renato himself used the full range of his sax in terms of dynamics and notes but when he played loud it never sounded strained, up high it never squeaked and the soft notes never sounded timid.

Nicola Muresu seems to have clocked Arnold Schoenberg's dictum that a good bass-line should be like a second melody; both his accompaniment and his solos had breathing space, ample time to let ideas be absorbed and, a melodic, sung quality even allowing for the extreme range of the instrument, exploited to the full.

The first set closed with Be Nice, a Cole Porter-inspired piece which saw an extended solo from Enzo Zirrilli who treated us to what was almost a history of jazz drumming, starting off with a militaristic style snare drum riff before moving into bebop, going right the way through and ending up in the present day.

The start of the second set had the impact of surprise:  it was as if a different band entirely had taken the stage. Suite for Mother Earth (in two movements) was inspired by Renato’s late mother and it erupted in a frenzy of late John Coltrane style experimentation with Renato’s melody hovering around a single note, venturing around it quickly and returning giving it the shape of an atom before transposing little motifs up and down step-wise over the top of Montrone's McCoy Tyner-style vamps floating dissonantly over the top.

“That was the first movement and it was written when my Mother was still alive... when she used to piss me off!” was D’Aiello's description.  He then brought the string quartet back for the beautiful - and beautifully contrasted -  Requiem section with the strings playing a chorale-like theme which jumped relentlessly out into distantly related keys. Renato’s lyrical  theme grew subtly out of it, providing a bittersweet contrast between light and dark.

Renato’s album Satori will be released at some point in November 2012 (exact date seems to be TBC)

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