Mattia Cigalini and his apparently limitless expressive abilities. This talented young saxophonist released this new recording just a few months after Right Now, the duet album with pianist Enrico Zanisi. Passionate as usual, Cigalini contributes a large bulk of musical concepts in Astrea, inspirations and ideas that make these tracks unpredictable. The steady evolution of this musician, even throughout this album, becomes much clearer if compared to his previous recordings on CAM JAZZ. Cigalini’s saxophone takes listeners on a roller-coaster ride in “Horus”, the first of eight pieces, all emphatically demonstrating that he knows what kind of music he wants to play. This statement does not conflict with the opening one: even if investigating very different directions, his three latest albums nonetheless have a firm, diverse musical background ranging from Ligeti and Schoenberg to medieval and Balkan music. This results in a geometrical framework enabling Cigalini and his band-mates to improvise freely and find fresh expressive paths, while remaining faithful to the overall project design. “New Eyes Are Opening” was written for his daughter before she was born. “Est” is a riotous display of meters and vibes. “Joachin” only appears to offer a peaceful haven that then bursts into a quick-paced, frenzied mood in the finale. Intermittent pop echoes break through here and there, that had been quite prominent in “Beyond” (opening rhythms of “Day Of True Light”). The final surprise is a version of Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas”, originally intended for a CAM JAZZ Christmas compilation, which the trio could not but include in “Astrea”.
Recorded and mixed in Cavalicco on 16, 17, 18 June 2014 at Artesuono Recording Studio Recording & mixing engineer Stefano Amerio Photos by Andrea Boccalini Liner notes by Thomas Conrad