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TRANSMUTATIONS

Artist: Stefano Pastor

Date of Release: 01/07/2006

Catalogue no: SlamCD512

Label: SLAM

Price: £9.99

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Stefano Pastor violin, percussion, vocals, Stefano Calcagno trombone, Piero Leveratto double bass, Maurizio Borgia drums.On "Transmutations", Pastor's second CD, the ten tracks take material from diverse sources - Mozart to Ornette Coleman, pop to Coltrane, Jobim, show music and of course the blues - "transmuted" into excellent jazz vehicles.Recorded at the Mascherona Studio In Genova, Italy, October 24 - 25, 2005."As a result these transfigurations share the approach to modern jazz compositions, including several experiences where Afro-American language has developed in its history. A kind of jazz certainly transversal but, I guess, authentic." Writes Pastor.

 

Reviews

 

01/08/2006 Chris Parker

Jazz Review, August/September 2006
Violinist/bandleader/composer Stefano Pastor certainly talks a good fight in his notes to this album. Everyone from Monk and Mingus to Mozart and Jobim is namechecked; all his own compositions are labelled ‘transmutations’ of a pretty representative selection of jazz sub-genres, from blues and bop to samba and free improvisation (often, as in ‘Dimorfismo’, in the same piece). The actual music does, for the most part, deliver. Propelled by a sparky, responsive and commendably versatile rhythm section, Pastor’s violin and Stefano Calcagno’s trombone intertwine, play complementary roles and strike sparks off each other, all the time sounding utterly at home in the various quick-changing stylistic roles assigned to them by Pastor’s compositions. Many, however (particularly those from outside the free-improvisation camp), will find Pastor’s violin tone (a sort of dry scrape deliberately lacking in mellowing resonance), and the resultant sourness of his harmony work with Calcagno, a little offputting at first. If you can get past that, though, there is a great deal to enjoy in this varied and thoughtful album.

The Mozart-inspired ‘Don Juan’, for instance, has chosen its melodic fragments judiciously for its purposes, and is well served by what Pastor himself calls a “dark and meditative habanera”. ‘Dimorfismo’ juggles its various stylistic elements to intriguing effect; John Coltrane’s ‘Crescent’ moves from an arresting rubato into a meditative mood characterised by “feelings of tension and anxiety”. So although the tonal qualities of the front-line players might be problematic for some listeners, this is an absorbing album filled with ideas and insight into the essential qualities of the various stages through which jazz has passed.
Chris Parker

 

01/06/2006 Cosimo Parisi

Trasmutazioni
Cosimo Parisi

Passing from classic music scores to jazz improvisation and to structures which are based on other kind of rhythms represents a difficoulty that a lot of musicians can’t to face with competence. Besides the ability on instrument is necessary to have the expressive urgency and the passion for a kind of music which don’t allow to hide himself behind a score.

The violinist Stefano Pastor is able to combine, or better, to divide well both the worlds creating also in the improvised music field excellent recordings.

After his first work dedicated to Italian song he arrives on English label SLAM with a quartet which includes Stefano Calcagno on trombone, Piero Leveratto on bass and Maurizio Borgia on drums.

The music of Transmutations move to other co-ordinates and even if it give space to samba rhythms in Qarenta and in the final Esquecendo voce, it finds Ornettian accents and a version of Crescent by Coltrane.

Pastor lead well the group and the violin which in his hands gains the sound of a wind instrument. It agrees perfectly with trombone and reacts to the propulsive pression of the rhythmic session giving to the ensemble something special, an original sound which makes the band an international collective.

Crescent’s tour de force is one of the best passages of the disc. An improvisation full of tensions resolved in a masterly way. The influence of Coltrane and Coleman is clear, with a synthesis capacity which give hope for the future.

An unusual and appealing music.

 

01/06/2006 Luca Bandirali

Transmutations by Stefano Pastor, introduced by a nice cover, as original as its contents, attests the Italian jazz scene’s strength. Pastor’s work has a definite cultural horizon, firm roots and great energy.
What you should first know about Pastor is that he’s a violinist: this means a likely enough eccentric role in the jazz field, as Carles-Clergeat-Comolli said “violin’s history in jazz is twisted and conflicting”. How could it happen that Pastor plays a leading role, exploring the heart of jazz reasearch, focusing on Ornette Coleman and John Coltrane? I think the answer is in his ability to expand his violin’s timbre, which becomes a mutant one, yielded to the musician’s demands and ready to interact with the ensemble; inverting the traditional orchestration’s options, violin is contrasting to Leveratto’s double bass while is according to Stefano Calcagno’s trombone.
Transmutations is a real revelation: original tracks are impressive not just in the contemporary jazz’s way of emptiness, but for their full thematic writing: “Don Juan” works on european classical tradition, “Quarenta” has a brazilian flavour; “Dimorfismo” and “Vucciria” are agglomerates of different cells, oscillating from syntax to parataxis in a well planned structure.
It’s very difficult to settle the highest point of Transmutations: I think it could be “Crescent”, which Pastor plays analyzing Coltrane’s master take as well as the alternate take (the one with Coltrane-Jones duo).
There are several good reasons to listen to Stefano Pastor’s Transmutations: it happens to me so frequently I don’t remember any.


Luca Bandirali – Jazzitalia - June 2006

 

26/05/2006 Downtown Music

DOWNTOWN MUSIC GALLERY, NEWSLETTER - MAY 26TH, 2006

STEFANO PASTOR QUARTET - TRANSMUTATIONS (SLAM 512; UK) FEATURING STEFANO PASTOR ACOUSTIC VIOLIN & PERCUSSION, STEFANO CALCAGNO TROMBONE, PIERO LEVERATTO DOUBLE BASS AND MAURIZIO BORGIA DRUMS. ON 'TRANSMUTATIONS', PASTOR'S SECOND CD, THE TEN TRACKS TAKE MATERIAL FROM DIVERSE SOURCES - MOZART TO ORNETTE TO COLTRANE TO JOBIM, A SHOW TUNE AND OF COURSE THE BLUES - 'TRANSMUTED' INTO EXCELLENT JAZZ VEHICLES, AS WELL AS SIX ORIGINALS BY THE LEADER. I CAN'T SAY THAT I'M FAMILIAR WITH ANY MEMBERS OF THIS ITALIAN QUARTET, BUT YOU MUST ADMIT THAT THE INSTRUMENTATION IS UNUSUAL, A VIOLIN AND TROMBONE IN THE FRONTLINE, WITH NO PIANO, JUST DOUBLE-BASS AND DRUMS. ORNETTE'S "BIRD FOOD" OPENS AND SWINGS NICELY, WITH SPIRITED SOLOS FROM THE TROMBONE AND VIOLIN. MR. PASTOR TWISTS THE NOTES/STRINGS ON HIS VIOLIN IN THE SAME WAY THAT ORNETTE DOES WHEN HE ALSO PICKS UP THE VIOLIN ON RARE OCCASION. PASTOR WRITES QUIRKY SONGS THAT MOVE IN UNEXPECTED WAYS. WITH NO PIANIST IN SIGHT, THEIR BASSIST IS OFTEN THE CENTRAL FORCE HERE AND HE IS A FORMIDABLE PLAYER, STRONG SOLOS AS WELL AS LETTING THOSE NOTES RING OR SING THE ENCHANTING MELODIES, STRETCHING OUT THE SPIRIT WITHIN. JOHN COLTRANE'S "CRESCENT" IS DONE SOME RATHER POIGNANT, BLUESY PASSION FEATURING A LONG, TOUCHING SOLO FROM PASTOR'S VIOLIN. WHILE THE VIOLIN AND TROMBONE PLAY THE THEME TO "I FALL IN LOVE TOO EASILY", THE BASS SOLOS AND CENTERS THE TUNE THROUGH ITS ENTIRETY. PIERO'S BASS PUMPS HARD ON AND SWINGS MASTERFULLY ON PASTOR'S "VUCCIRIA", WITH MORE SPIRITED SOLOS FROM THE VIOLIN AND TROMBONE. MR. PASTOR SINGS JOBIM'S "ESQUECENDO VOCE" EXQUISITELY AS THE VIOLIN AND BASS PLAY MELANCHOLY HARMONIES AROUND HIS SOFT, SAD VOICE. A QUAINT CONCLUSION TO A MODEST GEM. – BLG

 

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