by Jeff Becker
Well-crafted and swinging, bassist Francesco Valente presents bits of hard bop mixed with contemporary refrains, coupled with musicianship that sparkles with each track.
Maloca has a very western feel arising from its Italian composer. Valente’s playing feels like a combination of classic Ray Brown, balanced with a more contemporary Christian McBride. “Tchap” and “Maloca” both present an effervescent of youthful expressionism. Lucena and Gaspar have searing exchanges throughout the beginning of the piece, while Valente creates a calm and reserved energy allowing his bandmates the room to stretch out on the proceedings.
“Maloca” is infused with a hint of Latin flavor, but is not a total cop to the latin vibe, the piece is focused on stretching out with subtle chord changes by Gasper and Moreira with Valente patterning a groovy and infectious pad, that still carries an air of understated resplendent.
Valente’s re-interpretation of Bela Bartok’s “Romanian Folk Dances” is a beaming interpretation, a fierce piece to perform with skill within the classical cannon. The piece originally featuring a violinist who must be in top form to navigate Valente re-interprets the piece into a delicate and wonderfully emotional romantic march.
The closer “Soul” written by trumpeter, Johannes Krieger, is a burning number with excellent individual lines and deeply rooted rhythms; the excitement immediately catches you up in the moment. Maloca is an invigorating session that holds strong within tradition, while still exploring and creating a new individual sound, a solid debut from Francesco Valente and his MoFrancesco Quintetto. Highly Recommended.