Drummer and composer Tommaso Cappellato follows up his début album with a stunning turn on the Jazz Re:freshed label. The Italian born Cappellato, working here alongside his band and recording under the ‘Astral Travel’ moniker, dropped the ten track ‘Cosm’ethic’ project back in late July and on first listen, it most certainly captivates, suggesting that the burgeoning West London imprint might just have another sure shot release on its hands. Having already facilitated the début EP from another drummer, a certain Richard Spaven, the Jazz re:freshed boys’ ears were pricked to the work of this talented Italian through the recommendation of renowned producer and friend Mark de Clive-Lowe, and with an understanding that the man knows his drummers (de Clive-Lowe famously gave Spaven an early start in the drummer’s seat at his seminal Freesoul Sessions night back in 2005), they snapped up the rights to release the album almost immediately.
And so to the artist. A young Cappellato left his native Italy and set out to explore the world, harbouring hopes of further developing his musical technique and style along the way. The expedition ultimately took him to America and moreover, the city of New York where over a ten-year period, he would achieve a BFA in Jazz Performance at The New School University, and somewhat more importantly, make the acquaintance of the late, legendary pianist and arranger Harry Whittaker, celebrated member of Roy Ayers’ Ubiquity and composer of this epic jazz classic. With his musical education now satisfactorily concluded, Cappellato returned to his homeland and in 2009 released the exciting quartet album ‘Open’ on the Elefante Rosso label. It was a début which bears the marks of a man well-travelled, and the wordly flourishes Cappellato brought to the recording also make this an album worth seeking out.
With ‘Cosm’ethic’, released a full four years after that initial offering, he takes us on a similar, if not more elaborate trip. Incorporating a soulful, often spiritual approach that in places recalls the music of former mentor Whittaker, Cappellato produces a forward thinking jazz album with historical overtones. Taking its cue from the works of Pharoah Sanders (the band take their name from his superb composition ‘Astral Travelling’ ), Sun Ra, John and Alice Coltrane and Archie Shepp, the music harks back to the days of the Black Arts movement of the Sixties and Seventies, a most fruitful period in the development of jazz. However, this is not to say it’s a simple pastiche of the sound. In fact, in much the same way Lance Ferguson explored the same era with his Menagerie jazz outfit late last year, here the drummer puts together a set of songs that not only hark back to the great albums of that time frame, but ultimately also updates the sound for today’s modern audiences. It’s an eclectic collection with a style firmly rooted in jazz, but on stand out cuts ‘Consciousness’ and ‘Space and Time’, the drummer uses New York MCs Yah Supreme and Chauncey Yearwood to bring a little spoken word and hip hop sensibility into the mix, while the title track and the sprawling ‘World Traveller’ offer up ethereal and soaring vocals from vocalist Alessia Obino.
You can stream (and buy) the new release via the Jazz Re:freshed Bandcamp embed below, so give it a little listen and let us know what you think. Meanwhile if you are in London Town tonight, you could do a lot worse than attend the official CD launch party with Cappellato and Astral Travel playing live take place at Mau Mau Bar, 265 Portobello Road, courtesy of Jazz re:freshed. After all, there’s nothing better hearing a project live right?
Tommaso Cappellato & Astral Travel
1. Entering The Dream
3. Free Fall
5. My Body Needs To Breathe, I Doesn’t
6. Music Power
8. Space & Time
9. World Traveller
Astral Travel: Tommaso Cappellato (drums) Alessia Obino (voice) Anna Maria Dalla Valle (flute and alto flute) Paolo Corsini (piano, rhodes, moog & oberheim synthesizers) Marco Privato (double bass). Guest appearances: Chauncey Yearwood (“Consciousness” and “Space & Time”) Yah Supreme (“Space & Time”). Produced by Tommaso Cappellato Co-produced by Max Trisotto