Friday , July 19 2024

Music Review: Jan Sturiale – ‘Roadmaps’ Conveys Cool Colors of Modern Jazz

Jazz visionary Jan Sturiale recently dropped a new album, entitled Roadmaps. Hailing from Italy, Sturiale plays guitar on the album, and is joined by Jure Pukl on sax; Marko Churnchetz on piano and Fender Rhodes; Miha Koren on bass; and Klemens Marktl on drums.

“It was a privilege working with pianist Marko Churnchectz, saxophone player Jure Pukl and Miha Koren and Klemens Marktl as rhythm section. We recorded all my new music in one day at the Bunker Studios in Brooklyn, N.Y. a fantastic studio owned by John Davis. The record has been mastered by Alex De Turk at Strange Weather Studio in Brooklyn,” says Sturiale.

Sturiale begin studying classical guitar at age nine. Later he attended the Conservatory of Udine, followed by the Conservatory of Trieste. After receiving the Gary Burton Scholarship, he mastered his studies at Berklee College of Music. Since then, he has played with Hiram Bullock, Bob Reynolds, Vardan Ovsepian, Ziv Ravitz, Dean Brown, Tatiana Parr, and many others.

Variety of Jazz Styles

Billed as a contemporary jazz musician, Sturiale’s sound is not easily pigeonholed, blending a variety of jazz styles into contagious concoctions full of tantalizing colors and flavors.

Roadmaps comprises nine tracks. “Full Moon” travels on a smooth and sometimes disjointed melody full of glistening wistful hues. The improvisational rhythm exudes exotic-flavored runs and tempo changes. “The E Song” emanates cool drifting colors flowing into a rambunctious experimental jazz melody rife with spiraling harmonics and dreamy textures.

The title track opens with pulsing tones from the sax and piano leading into a trundling improvisational melody. The piano provides the harmonic foundation, while the drums and thumping bass shore up the trickling rhythmic component. I love the mellow sparkles of the piano on this tune. “One Little Finger” oozes out a dripping, wavering jazz melody permeated by the subdued bray of the sax and hissing high-hat. A muted wedge of bass and sax delivers a drowsy effluvium that’s effective and darkly evocative.

Bright Energy, Slapping Bass

“Intro” provides a short mish-mash of drawling flavors that lead into the upbeat “Major Suspension,” a rollicking jazz piece rife with bright energy and a deliciously flowing piano that comes across with multiple layers of pigments. The drums and slapping bassline on this tune are potent.

“Mercy Street” radiates oozing experimental colors laced with the plonking headiness of the bass and rich warm tones streaming from the sax, which assumes a pungent aroma as the song progresses. This is one of my favorites on the album because of its tonal fluctuations. “Blessed Relief” rides a tinkling piano and a flooding sax-driven melody featuring descending harmonics. The trembling frisson of the sax is scrumptiously delightful, like a bird flitting here and there. “Dark Grey” offers charmingly subdued modern jazz that seeps forth with colorful discharges of pastel energy. This is another favorite because of its persuasive velvety hues.

Roadmaps is excellent and so cool, it’s almost frosty. The slightly experimental melodies challenge rather than repel, simply because of their innovative flow and glossy tones. If you’re into polished jazz, Jan Sturiale’s Roadmaps is for you.

Follow Jan Sturiale on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.


About Randall Radic

Left Coast author and writer. Author of numerous true crime books written under the pen-name of John Lee Brook. Former music contributor at Huff Post.

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