3Quietmen is a young Italian trio that draws inspiration from composer Bela Bartok’s Mikrokosmos, a prominent work consisting of 153 piano pieces. Fellow countryman and revered modern jazz pianist Stefano Battaglia joins the band for these pieces that waver between jazz and groove-based abstractions, shaded with electronics. It’s a polytonal feast for the ears, as the musicians execute circular mini-motifs and cunning paradigm shifts, punchy ostinatos and brawny group-centric interplay.
Battaglia occasionally calms the waters via airy, jazz-based phrasings and swirling chord progressions, while offering counterpoint to trumpeter Ramon Moro’s searing notes. The classical inferences are subliminal and faint, and the artists occasionally skirt the free zone. On “Quietman Hymn,” Battaglia and Moro render a supple and memorably melodic theme atop the rhythm section’s gentle pulse and accenting tonalities. But they venture towards the progressive-rock idiom during “Dialogue,” where distortion-based electronics coalesce with punishing beats, all offset by the pianist’s gingerly executed passages for the bridge. It’s a changeable, yet continually dynamic program.
The foursome generates some high heat on “Buzzing,” featuring Battaglia’s cascading and harmonious voicings and the altogether perplexing storyline, marked by tumultuous flows. Hence, the plot thickens but the musicians collectively sustain a signature methodology that keenly bridges the gap between a modicum of genres and stylizations. More importantly, they aim to entertain: mission accomplished.