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Slivovitz: All You Can Eat

A feast of musical treats from Italy.

On their third album for the Moonjune label, the Naples-based septet continue proffering tight, punchy arrangements for a guitar and brass-dominated sound drawing on a swirling current of rock, world and fusion.

There are many outstanding solos, particularly from guitarist and principal composer Marcello Giannini, and wonderfully agile violin from Riccardo Villari, but the smart, savvy writing gives Slivovitz a real edge over other contemporary jazz-rock outfits. Every track contains sparkling, decorous melodies skillfully threaded between crisply executed call-and-response blasts from the rhythm section. Within the eclectic whirl, Balkanesque cadenzas, noirish twang-bar spy thriller tones, and inquisitively roving brass flurries coalesce to form a gritty, vibrant slipstream. And it’s not often you hear harmonica used in jazzy extrapolations these days, but Derek Di Perri’s yearning lyricism on the instrument cuts through to bring extra warmth and panache to the sound. With a determined focus on quality writing and concise instrumental forays, Slivovitz are as far removed from prosaic theme-solo-theme jazz-rock noodling as it’s possible to get.