I wrote not too long ago about the outstanding Italian drummer Roberto Gatto. I just got a copy of his latest trio outing, "Replay" (EGEA Music 2012) with Alessandro Lanzani on piano and Gabriele Evangelista on bass, and it fits right into the framework of the previous CD. It combines seven pieces penned by member of the group with five covers, but the covers themselves are far more impressions and improvisations on the covers than straight readings. So songs like Wayne Shorter's "Ave Maria", Jobim's "Double Rainbow", Dewey Redman's "Mushi Mushi", Monk's "Pannonica" and the title piece by Samuele Bersani and Lucio Dalla are all entirely fresh. "Improv #1 and #2" could be right out of the ECM/Scandanavian playbook -- lots of open space, short piano bursts or melodic tunes, drums or cymbals that are deep in the background providing color, all creating sonic landscapes. Gatto directs the music from the back, either coloring tunes like "Pannonica", which also includes some nice soloing by the bass, or by more direct beat keeping. This is my first exposure to pianist Lanzani and I am impressed by the touch, agility and sureness with which he plays whether out front or comping for the bass.
There is no flash here, just a piano trio playing really nice music that is largely impressionistic and tinged with a northern european sensibility -- lyrical, creative, mellow music which is just right for those who like modern creative piano trios, or, like me, love all things Italian.