DOWNBEAT MAGAZINE (USA) – November 2011 – Chris Robinson

Felice Clemente Quartet “Nuvole di Carta”. CROCEVIA DI SUONI RECORDS CDS005
★★★★.
Italian saxophonist Felice Clemente’s Nuvole di Carta is a hip and fresh take on contemporary post-bop playing. His eighth recording under his name—featuring pianist Massimo Colombo, bassist Giulio Corini and drummer Massimo Manzi accomplishes that difficult feat of presenting complex music in a way that sounds natural and easy. The first two cuts, “The Courage To Try” and “Paradossi,” navigate irregular meters effortlessly. To complicate matters further, Manzi is an expert at disguising meter, putting fills and kicks where one might not expect them. In this way he recalls Paul Motian’s work with Bill Evans, in that Manzi does not always give the listener something tangible to grasp onto; it’s a bit like being taken into deep waters. Clemente, who has garnered much critical acclaim in Europe, plays soprano on five cuts and tenor on four. His soprano tone is mellow, relaxed and a bit dry, especially on “Paradossi,” on which he incorporates fluttertonguing into the melody. Evoking John Coltrane, Clemente meditates with his soprano playing over the roiling and tumbling rhythm section on Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s “The Young Prince And Princess.” On the title track, a slow waltz, his tenor is warm and inviting as he churns out highly nuanced and melodic lines. The album closes with Colombo’s “Bastian Contrario,” a duet between Corini and Clemente on tenor. Clemente goes from floating over Corini’s walking lines to dancing in and out of the bassist’s broken and staccato figures. Nuvole di Carta is an excellent record that demonstrates that Clemente and his peers deserve wider recognition in the United States. _Chris Robinson

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