HomeMusicLouis Siciliano and Mauro Salvatore (MUMEx Duo) Release Epic New Works

    Louis Siciliano and Mauro Salvatore (MUMEx Duo) Release Epic New Works

    There are many well-founded intellectual concepts and personal connections that Louis Siciliano and Mauro Salvatore’s work as the MUMEx Duo share. Ultimately, however, what stands out above all else is that they are a potent jazz-based duo capable and clearly intent on taking the genre wherever they like. There are no barriers here. The first song on their new album Heat the Silent is an instrumental, like virtually 95% of the album, but it isn’t any impediment to the pianist and drummer, respectively, conjuring compelling textures.

    Mauro Salvatore restricts his drumming presence to light and scattered cymbal work during “Variations on ‘Estate’”, the aforementioned first track. His presence is pronounced for the first time with the album’s third song “Thelonious” where he has a sustained and fiery duel with Siciliano’s piano. There’s a roiling and relentless chaos in the heart of songs such as this, but it isn’t a dark energy; it’s the sound of two musicians who work exceptionally well together.

    The title track is arguably the best example of their more incremental approach to jazz composition. “Heat the Silent” doesn’t rush anything about the track’s development, but the decisions it makes share dramatic elements that listeners won’t soon turn away from. “Joe’s Island” rates as one of the album’s more compositionally adventurous moments but certainly pulls listeners down a less buoyant path than before. It never fails to hold listener’s attention, however.

     “Beyond the Eight Door” has plenty of rolling and tumbling carrying listeners through the bulk of the song. The combo, however, has the good sense to shift gears at the right times during these songs and the second half of this track benefits from one of those moments. Many listeners will love how Siciliano’s piano playing lives in the upper register for so much of the song. Salvatore, however, never loses the plot and helps build a masterful percussive dialogue with his musical partner that most listeners will agree is the album’s zenith. “Variazione Senza Fine” almost suffers by comparison. It does fire away with the same spark and fury of some of the album’s high points and many will think it stuck a more poetic end for the piece.

    It emphasizes the overall sense of craft that drives Siciliano and Salvatore’s work. It is one of many feathers in their cap that they are able to balance that with a consistent responsiveness to the moment. They are never tethered to the “rules” and celebrate both the future and past in the same musical breath on Heat the Silent. If you believe jazz, especially instrumental jazz, cannot speak to you, take a chance on this release and it’s likely you will find that the style has needed the right artist to unlock its charms for you. The sense of personal mission behind Sicilano’s artistic ideas, paying tribute to the classical Afro-American music that set him afire as a youth, and to the father who helped open that door is the crowning touch on this wonderful work. 

    Trace Whittaker

    Photo Credit: Mario Coppola

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