by Jeff Becker
I had the sincere pleasure of reviewing Moretti’s project, Ramm/Moretti/Cunliffe, Foundations back in 2009. It was clear then as it still is today, Moretti is a force to be reckoned with. The buoyancy and versatility of his playing is peerless. His latest recording Invoke features twelve original compositions, the American saxophonist, flautist, composer and producer is joined by Mark Shilansky (piano), Jesse Williams (bass), Steve Langone (drums), Bengisu Gokce (violin), Dan Lay (viola) and Marta Roma (cello). Moretti was methodical in his approach towards this recording, its purpose is best described by Moretti who says, “This recording was intended to be melodic in nature with shorter solos than a typical jazz recording. The addition of live strings as an integral part of 5 of the songs was a musical desire of mine for many years. To “Invoke” call on (a deity or spirit) in prayer, as a witness, or for inspiration. This is what I always hope for, the opportunity to let go to the power of spirit to take me to the deeper place in life where there are no boundaries.” This emotion is exhibited throughout Invoke in beautiful and moving pieces.
“Angel Silver,” begins the recording with Moretti on flute, though known in many circles as a saxophonist, it is his equally adroit flute playing that is stunning. The fluidity of his lines and the darkened hue is unlike most flutist. Bassist Jesse Williams plays a key role on this cut, his elongate lines and linear approach anchors the canvas for beautiful colorizations. His solo is also tonally focused. Pianist Shilansky creates ravishing commentary that uplifts, this is one of Shilansky’s most notable traits, no matter the project he is on, it is the details that he brings to the table. Drummer Steve Langone delicately drives the tune forward in a tender yet propelling way.
Moretti has a signature sound, and though Invoke overall focuses on a more introspective sound, the tune “The Ride,” will give Moretti fans that muscular side he is best known for. Langone creates an active traveling sound on this tune, while this time Shilansky shows his soloing wares to great effect. Moretti is in control, his lines are intricate, and he utilizes his horn from top to bottom, articulating fast affecting lines and that Moretti signature sound that hits the highest notes and quickly runs down arpeggios with a distinguished flair. Saxophone is certainly a well-documented instrument in jazz, but when you hear players that exhibit that special sumthin’ sumthin’ in their playing you instantly recognize the mastery.
Though Invoke might be a departure from Moretti’s more recent projects, the album is not out of character to the versality of Moretti’s overall discography. From modern jazz, to funk, to blues-jazz, to more of an orchestral sound in the seventeen recordings Moretti has to his name, Invoke is another tour de force inclusion in an ever-growing masterful discography put forth by Moretti. A refined listen from beginning to end.