Francesco Amico Quartet: “Slow Motion” – is constantly in movement

The song “Slow Motion” performed by the Francesco Amico Quartet, has a long story indeed. The original composition was conceived roughly 12 years ago after Francesco was awarded a scholarship to study jazz composition at the “Newpark School of Music” in Dublin, with composer Ronan Guilfoyle.  At the same time, Francesco had been working on various concepts of chromatic composition, inspired by a manuscript John Abercrombie gave him during a Masterclass.

Francesco Amico
Francesco Amico

During the years the tune has evolved into differing arrangements until finally in November 2014 Francesco decided to record it with the help of some friends and valued musicians – saxophonist Patrice Brun, bassist Cormac O’Brien and drummer Cormac Larkin.

Francesco Amico’s guitar playing possesses what I’d call a quiet fire. He is a flamboyant but not a loud player. At the same time there’s a good reason for that. He seems to keep his playing style rather subdued in volume to draw the focus into his main asset as a musician: his instrumental fluidity, level of technique and his ability to interpret melodies.

“Slow Motion” is constantly in movement from the moment it begins until the very last note is played. Similar to most free-spirited jazz tracks, this tune meanders like a river into many directions Francesco Amico’s guitar flows like running water into a creek, then a brook, a rivulet, a rill and then finally into a stream of notes. Some rivers however eventually run dry, “Slow Motion” never does, as it builds and works its way toward an ocean of emotion with help of the other players.  How does the Francesco Amico Quartet do it? I think the proper word is synergy.

Saxophonist Patrice Brun, bassist Cormac O’Brien and drummer Cormac Larkin.
Saxophonist Patrice Brun, bassist Cormac O’Brien and drummer Cormac Larkin.

The four players are immensely talented musicians individually. However, their combined efforts are greater than the sum of their individual greatness. They’ve got plenty of synergy, and there’s enough on “Slow Motion” to satisfy the most discerning of jazz fans. This group simply overwhelms me with their sound. It is pure and very sophisticated as they play in a synchronized but not formulaic flow that is perfectly connected. It doesn’t matter which of the four is taking the lead, you can count on it to be consistently outstanding.

The recording of the “Slow Motion” song and video is one of those rare happenings where four highly intelligent, experienced, accomplished and mature musicians get together and allow each other to unfold and shine through their relaxed, sensitive and gentlemanly approach to making music. No-one has anything to prove or the need to upstage anyone else, and this leads to a transparency and variety in color and tone which is hard to find in popular music.

Throughout “Slow Motion”, soft seduction oozes, strokes and envelopes the listener.

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