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★★★★✩

Inner Dance

Fabrizio Sotti

Released April 6, 2010

Produced by E1 Music

Those of you who follow what I write might know of my interest in the interplay between a country’s inherent culture and the music it produces. Italian guitarist Fabrizio Sotti is an apt example. Since the death of Marcus Aurelius, the Italians haven’t quite been renowned for their sense of urgency. While the higher-browed and straighter-lipped of their European brethren may poke fun at the sloth of this Mediterranean cradle of the West (here’s looking at you Berlusconi), you have to give them credit. After all, while you’re criticizing Italy for its mafia-style government and easy-going lifestyle, an Italian man is probably sleeping with your girlfriend. Italy may be the degenerate skeleton of the Roman Empire, but damn they’re smooth. Their plethora of Lotharios only adds to the stereotypical image of the tall, dark, and handsome Italian.

(Apologies to Sotti, who I’m sure operates like clockwork and never has wine before 2 p.m.).

Being a bit more serious, Fabrizio Sotti’s album is really quite good. He’s decidely un-notey. He uses space. That’s not trivial. The reality is that jazz (particularly the type that I generally enjoy, so this is a change for me) is overrun by what’s known in the music world as “angry motherfuckers.” AMs like to play as many notes as possible, completely overturn your sense of harmony, and still make a serious political statement at the same time. In their spare time they start fights with their own band members, shout at audience members for taking photographs, and generally act cooler-than-thou. AMs push out a lot of good albums, but occasionally at the expense of Jimmy Knepper’s teeth.

Sotti is the opposite. Oh, sure, he wants to change the world, but first he wants a nap. There’s corruption and racism and loneliness and urban poverty out there (the staples of AM artistry), but there’s also a lot of beauty: love, the sun coming up over Sicily, a bottle of Fundador or four. Fabrizio Sotti’s subject material is the latter. BYOFundador.