Album Review of
Incontre (feat. Dayna Stephens, Sam Yahel & Jongkuk Kim)

Written by Joe Ross
December 5, 2019 - 1:56am EST
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New York bassist Massimo Biolcati spent his youth in Sweden and Italy. He then studied at the Berklee College of Music (Boston) and Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz (Los Angeles). He appears on two albums by Gilfema (a trio with Hungarian drummer Ferenc Nemeth and Beninese guitarist/vocalist Lionel Loueke), as well as on three albums with The Lionel Loueke Trio (including Karibu with Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock).  The young, exuberant musician has been very busy performing, touring, producing, composing, recording and leading bands. On “Incontre,” Biolcati teams with Dayna Stephens (saxophones), Sam Yahel (piano, organ) and Jongkuk Kim (drums). Biolcati’s four originals are quite adventurous as they create dreamy soundscapes of sparkling motifs. “Incontre” and others are breezy mellow, while “Hello, I Lied” gains momentum and propulsion as the tune progresses. The band keeps things both entertaining and tight as they interpret songs by Thelonius Monk (“Boo Boo’s Birthday”), Dave Holland (“How’s Never”), and Charles Mingus (Duke Ellington’s Sound of Love”), the latter being a showcase for Yahel’s and Stephen’s intricate ideas on organ and sax, respectively. I missed hearing a silky smooth vocalist sing that number, but the master musicians let their instruments do the singing. Of special note are their clever arrangement of “Smile” (Charlie Chaplin's instrumental soundtrack song for the 1936 movie Modern Times), and their jazzy rendition “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” (originally new wave song from the English pop/rock band Tears for Fears). Biolcati and his pals are consummate instrumentalists, and their splendid music provides plenty of pleasure as they explore various degrees of passion in each piece.  (Joe Ross, Roots Music Report)