Andrea Veneziani Compounds His Expansive Musical Vision on “The Lighthouse,” Set for October 6 Release…
Acclaimed bassist and composer Andrea Veneziani returns to leadership with his long-awaited second album, The Lighthouse, which will be available on October 6. The album features the Italian-born artist leading an all-star quartet comprising cornetist Kirk Knuffke, guitarist Charlie Sigler, and drummer Allan Mednard performing a gorgeous set of eight Veneziani originals.
This sophomore effort from the bassist comes eleven years after his highly praised debut, 2012’s Oltreoceano. The lengthy gap is partly due to the first album’s success, which opened many doors for Veneziani to perform and record both as a leader and a sideman. However, he had initially planned to make his follow-up in 2020 before the COVID-19 pandemic thwarted his efforts for three long years.
Ironically, however, that last delay gave Veneziani an unexpected gift. He had time to shape and polish the scintillating new group of tunes that make up The Lighthouse. Each is crafted to the specific sounds of the musicians in his band, yet they are also in conversation with the piano-trio pieces on Oltreoceano.
“I think these new pieces are connected with the first recording,” Veneziani says. “The tunes are kind of on the same page aesthetically, but there’s definitely been a growth in the complexity of the forms and the sophistication of the melodies, harmonies, and the rhythmic elements of the compositions.”
Which is not to say that the new songs are too hip for the room, so to speak. Indeed, The Lighthouse is dazzling right from the start—the warmly glowing title track—and remains so all the way through its lively but thoughtful samba closer, “Shunting Line.”
In between those endpieces are pockets of beauty (the gorgeous ballads “Gravity” and “Rainbows”), good cheer (“In Perpetuum”), quirky charm (the waltzing “Twelve Clowns”), hard swing (“Seasons”), and free-ish improvisation (“Bop-Be”). Yet for all their variety, the pieces show a remarkable consistency, coming together to form a clear Veneziani vision.
Despite the singularity of that vision, however, much of the credit also goes to the ace, handpicked sidemen. “I wanted their individual sounds, and I thought they’d work together beautifully,” Veneziani says. And so they do, as The Lighthouse masterfully demonstrates.
Visit online at andreaveneziani.com