Claudio Allia, Ricardo Samperi, Paul Wertico, Alberto Amato

Acoustic Privacy

TRP Records, Italy

Certainly pleasant, very assured, and not too exploratory with tempo Acoustic Privacy is a professional, carefully considered CD for a particular audience. The musical themes vary from bouncy to contemplative ECM lite, and I am as usual impressed with drummer Paul Wertico (he of the Pat Metheny Group in the late 1980s through mid-1990s, I believe) and his ability to color the CD's sound field with his cymbals.

But this CD is badly hoist on its own petard in a way I've never encountered before. This particular writer reviews CDs usually by putting them in my creaky old CD-ROM drive and entering comments when I hear something worth commenting on.

Well, at one point some fifteen minutes along I noted how similar the first three songs were. I looked at the PC and to my chagrin found that the presentation software programmed into this CD made the same track you selected play over and over again unless you hit the button to advance the play function! Otherwise it just defaults to the first one.

Now, I was under the impression that automatic advance had been perfected in the early 1990s. What gives here?

Other than that very irritating glitch, the CD is good company on a midfall day as you try to think of a reason not to do your errands.

Allia's piano is articulate, his alto sax tone a bit smooth for my taste (but I never knocked Johnny Hodges for that, did I?), while guitarist Riccardo Samperi's tone and attack recall Joe Beck or an early George Benson here and there.

Finally, bass player Alberto Amato is undermiked, but I like his sense of where he is in the tunes, often cheerfully off-center and nicking notes that contrast as well as complement.

And there isn't a bad tune here, given the CD's tightly tonal feel especially the closing "Coelacanthus."

The thing is, if you're going to have an enhanced CD it would be more than helpful to have some indication on the sleeve that that's what it is! And some consideration of the listener would also be helpful.

By Kenneth Egbert