Where I Come From is the debut album by the italian saxophone player Pasquale Calò. The inspiration comes from the popular music encountered during his long tours abroad and which have conditioned his vision through a process of internalization and search for identity, as he himself states in the liner notes to the album.

Although these premises are evident in the melodic and rhythmic choices of songs such as Elefanti d’ Africa, in the title track Where I Come From and in Wake up, Stand up, in the central part of the album we find a certain use of electronic sounds and settings close to spiritual jazz and afro-beat that introduce an urban dimension in the album.

Despite this variety of sounds, a certain unity prevails in the overall breath of the album in which lightness and depth coexist in a continuum that is difficult to separate. Lightness that finds its raison d’être in rather simple harmonic structures and in a general rhythmic trend devoted to pulsation. The depth of this work is in the melodies and in the conviction with which they are played, an indication of a sincerity that is difficult to express on paper but that easily reaches the ear especially in acoustic pieces.

Examples of this are the initial Suite Supreme Being Part I and II and Cordoba where it is possible to appreciate the variety of the timbre palette and the poetics of Calò as an improviser who goes from long notes to the most torrential constructions as well as a certain narrative fluidity. It is not difficult to see in his language elements of the late Coltrane, the sound of free saxophonists such as Pharoah Sanders and the phraseological construction of more contemporary exponents of the instrument such as Chris Speed.

Rising Moon with its final theme full of poetry and the superb and fragmentary drumming of Alessandro Campobasso, the alienating atmospheres of The Sinner City with its interweaving between the leader and Salvandrea Lucifora on trombone and the massive use of electronics, and the energetic Cordoba with the remarkable introduction of Carlos Ródenas Borja and the beautiful solo of the leader.

All these elements make Where I Come From the valid first work of an artist who is looking for a sincere expression of himself and who is not far from finding it.

Spencer Travis