The opening Cubs, esferes i cilindres (Cubes, Spheres And Cylinders) is a musical reflection of Cubism, one of Anthus's favourite art forms. It features a lot of C# diminished 7th, the diminished tonality lending an immediate sense of tension and emotional unease as well as resonating with angular Cubist geometry.
It's dissonant but not free, the rhythmically organised theme giving way to a medium-tempo Tony Williams-type beat that supports an improvised duet between Anthus's light operatic voice and wah-wah trumpet redolent of 70s Miles.
Elisa, a melodic ballad with functional chord changes, brings repose, Anthus's dulcet vocal and the Hancock-like piano filigrees giving substance to the title “The Crooner of Mediterranean Jazz” conferred on Anthus a few years ago (A childhood hero was Sinatra).
Mediterraneum is a paean to ancient Mediterranean culture in the form of a short suite with lyrics in a composite Mediterranean language: Jazz ears will tune in to Villavecchia's fluent post-bop piano solo.
Other tracks feature rubato reveries over shifting modal centres, boleros, dissonant uptempo vamps, Latin ballad, and in a 800Km, tight funk and rapped message that distance cannot change what we feel inside ourselves.
Anthus's history is fascinating. After his conservative father serially dismissed his musical ambitions, he left his Sicilian homeland in the late 1990s at age 19 and went, unsupported and unintroduced, to Dublin, eventually studying at the city's Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
By 2003 he was missing the Med and on visiting Barcelona decided it was the place for his music and life.
The story of his auteur struggle to perform, like his voice and stylistic ambition, is striking.
Mark Gilbert – Jazz Jorurnal
Tuesday, March 6, 2018