Cirko Guerrini

CIRKO GUERRINI

Mirko Guerrini: saxes; flutes; compositions;
Mauro Grosi: piano;
Saverio Tasca: vibes;
Daniele Mencarelli: double bass;
Paolo corsi: drums

THE AGE, Jessica Nicholas

ON THE back cover of Mirko Guerrini’s latest CD, Il Bianco e L’Augusto, there’s a photo of him dressed as a circus ringmaster in frock coat, top hat, shiny boots and whip at the ready. As a bandleader, though, this genial Italian musician is not the whip-cracking type. And his musical ”circus” is definitely a collective enterprise rather than a one-man show.

The repertoire from Il Bianco e L’Augusto – all original tunes inspired by cinema and circus themes – formed the lion’s share of Sunday’s program. The London Hippodrome was delightfully Fellini-esque, Guerrini’s bold tenor riding the rhythm section’s lurching pulse like a wobbly clown on a unicycle. And in Effeto Barnum, all four players slid into a seductive tango that built a dramatic momentum during the bandleader’s rousing solo.

Guerrini shapes his improvisations as persuasively as he constructs his compositions. His assured, fluid lines form natural contours and climaxes that pull the audience – and his fellow musicians – along for the ride.

As a result, Sunday’s one-off quartet managed to create a convincing ensemble feel, whether its members were locked into a swiftly propulsive waltz – as on La Stagione dei Fiori – or evoking a Brazilian-style choro on the gorgeously lyrical Galatea.