Stefano Di Battista – Parker’s Mood

Stefano Di BattistaStefano Di Battista
Parker’s Mood
(Blue Note – 2005)
by Paula Edelstein
The Italian alto and soprano saxophonist lays an impressive set on his listeners with Parker’s Moods, Stefano di Battista’s fourth recording for the Blue Note record label. This is an excellent collection of Charlie Parker’s most memorable songs played by one of today’s most respected reed players on the international jazz scene. Just as Parker changed the vocabulary of jazz in a mercurial-like flash, that same spirit of bebop found Di Battista at age 16 and helped develop his sense of jazz even though the saxophonist was playing marches and folk songs with an Italian children’s orchestra!

Here, Di Battista presents the bebop language with a wonderful and awe-inspiring amount of personal genius. Accompanied by pianist Kenny Barron, bassist Rosario Bonaccorso, drummer Herlin Riley, and trumpeter Flavio Boltro, the ensemble “rocks” in the truest sense of the original beboppers. “Salt Peanuts” “Night In Tunisia,” and “Parker’s Mood,” are all sensational and Di Battista’s coherence, high speed and technical virtuosity are truly applaudable. With “Laura,” listeners will hear one of the most beautiful renditions of this ballad ever played on alto saxophone. Kenny Barron’s beautiful piano solo takes this song to another level before Stefano returns with his pure tone and sonic tapestry that has earned him a place among the great saxophonists of today.

Most important throughout this set is that Stefano Di Battista is a great melodist and that he has injected his original perspective into Parker’s Moods with sincerity and virtuosity.