European jazz artists take the first step toward cultural exchange by falling in love with and playing the great American art form. One of Italy's top drummers, Raffaele Califano, goes one step further by featuring the excellent American saxophonist Seamus Blake on his new album. Appropriately titled "Horizontal Dialogues," the CD is a powerful hard-bop session.
In addition to showcasing Califano's prowess as a drummer and a composer, the album is an excellent vehicle for Blake's dynamic solos. He plays beautifully on "Baron and Pres," a tribute to both Charles Mingus and Lester Young. (Blake is featured soloist with the Mingus Big Band and surely an admirer of legendary saxophonist Young.) But he's not the only one; this album left me wanting to hear more of the propulsive keyboard work of Antonio Magli and the bass work of Francesco Pierotti, who holds down the fort on the funky "Out of the Loop."