|Particles is not Umberto Petrin's blockbuster album, but it is filled with the sorts of delights that one has come to expect from this phenomenal artist. Thelonious Monk has always had a significant impact on Petrin's improvisations and compositions, and four tunes by Monk are exquisitely interpreted here by Petrin, who twists the melodies in so many directions that they resemble labyrinthine mazes that somehow retain their essential components. The pianist's eclecticism is evident, too, as he performs pieces by pop icon Tom Waits, Steve Lacy, and Cecil Taylor, the latter an obvious influence. Few have tackled Taylor's compositions in part because they are so difficult but just as importantly because they are so abstractly idiosyncratic and closely identified with Taylor. That Petrin acquits himself as well as he does is a testament to his technique and determination. His own pieces, the alternatively angular and introverted "Riflettendo," the alternatively joyous and introspective "Boogie and Empty Space," and the intense and dense "Oltre le Ventiquattro" reveal what Petrin's admirers already know, that here is one of Europe's great artists, a musician of singular accomplishment whose works can be spoken in the same breath as European contemporaries such as Franco d'Andrea and Michiel Braam. To the extent this album is flawed, it is in Petrin's occasional tendency to squeeze too many notes at once, something that he consciously avoids; but his concepts and command of the language of free jazz and hard bop, coupled with a fertile imagination, mark Petrin as one of the unheralded greats of his instrument, and just as importantly someone whose music is surprisingly accessible.