(Clean Feed)

Assuming a neutral stance in front of this music is like pretending not to be there after being testimony to a car crash at a crossroads. The difficulty of adapting our “regular” predisposition to the wildcat venture that is the serious comprehension of “Sfumato”‘s many directions is largely repaid by this spectacular ensemble, comprising Bobby Bradford on trumpet, Ken Filiano on double bass and Alex Cline on drums in addition to the leader, splendidly articulating his spontaneous ideas on saxes, bass clarinet, piccolo and contrabass flute. The quartet chops like a double-edged knife through a series of dissonant themes – proof of Golia’s variegated list of influences but also of his total non-acceptance of commonly used jazz idioms – which are nothing more than the erudite description of processes in which the only possible result is a prodigious species of anti-histrionic, extremely complex improvisation by a group of artists who simply refuse to accept the easiest solution as a given. “Sfumato” is arduous to grasp with just a couple of tries: it deserves many, each one more attentive – and it’s a great album in every department.

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