Sometimes you get the bear and sometimes the bear gets you. That’s the way it is in the forest and Stefano Zeni’s album “Parallel Paths” is a reminder of that extra-urban maxim as, in these days of conformity, it takes more than the right haircut to attract the listener’s attention.
“Parallel Paths” is the kind of album that you have to work at and. unless your musical tastes tend towards extemporisation, these fifteen songs may seem more like the soundtrack to the kind of film that you wouldn’t see in your local multiplex. Yet, these songs are not inaccessible style icons although it certainly helps to have had some exposure to, and liking for, jazz to best appreciate the complexity of what you are hearing and the skill that is duly necessary to present this kind of music to your ears.
The majority of the songs, as you would expect of a respected violin player, are instrumental with only Boris Savoldelli’s vocal improvisations on “Blue Crab” providing a valid counterpoint to that ever present, and oft processed, violin. That said, the aforementioned song also introduces an unexpectedly discordant note to what is a curiously hypnotic album that, despite the Nymanesque stylisations, is certainly more of an original musical statement than an attempt at commercial success.
“Parallel Paths” might therefore be correctly regarded as something of a treat for tired ears.