Livio Minafra 4Tet
Italian pianist Livio Minafra hails from Puglia, which looks across the Adriatic to the place where eastern Europe begins, and the Eastern flavours in his music are also part of a wider tradition in Italian jazz that engages with the many exotic musical currents that swirl around the Mediterranean. It is Minafra’s playfulness with those influences that defines him and makes his often complex music so accessible. His solo piano performances, for which he has been best known heretofore, are displays of genuine virtuosity, leavened with an almost comedic determination to entertain and engage.
His sense of humour persists even when expanded to a quartet, with influences as diverse as heavy metal and Brazilian master Hermeto Pascoal handled with the same mischievous touch. Guitarist Domenico Caliri and saxophonist Gaetano Partipilo respond in kind, but it’s the leader’s percussive playing and music-hall sensibility that define the group’s boisterous sound.