There’s pure, undiluted beauty emanating from the jewel of an introduction on Francesco Cataldo‘s Giulia. The Italian guitarist’s patient and pristine lines set the scene for “I Tuoi Colori (Prologo),” and his equally graceful band mates—pianist Marc Copland, bassist Pietro Leveratto and drummer Adam Nussbaum—join him, slowly drifting out toward cool blue waters like those spied through the window on the album’s cover. There’s mystery in the setting, for sure, but also an easy satisfaction. And so it goes for much of this gorgeous date.
Whether bouncing along the borders of the title track, playing to evening’s atmosphere on “Levante,” or circling the dance floor on “Waltz for Two,” this bi-continental quartet proves captivating. A juxtaposition of various elements—ambiguity and certainty, space next to substance, ebb against flow—proves to be vital, but so too does the embrace of singular devices. When Cataldo takes over on piano and goes it alone on “Two Ways,” for example, it’s all about wistful thoughts moving toward resolution; and on “Joy and Pain,” the music relies on an acceptance of life’s emotional tidewaters.