Italian reedist Alberto Pinton, who built his career in Stockholm after studying in Boston and New York, has long been a crucial figure in Sweden's jazz and improvised-music scene, but he remains largely unknown in the U.S. He's a workhorse: though he's produced only nine albums as a leader or coleader since 2001, he's appeared as a sideman on more than five dozen more. He contributes not only written charts but also a strong musical personality, most notably on great efforts by bassist Torbjörn Zetterberg and fellow reedist Fredrik Nordström. Zetterberg returns the favor on Pinton's fiery new Resiliency (Moserobie), billed to a quartet called Noi Siamo—it's an album that underscores Pinton's improvisational brio and impressive grasp of postbop fundamentals.
Pinton is unusual in that his arsenal includes baritone saxophone, clarinet, and bass clarinet—all unwieldy instruments that tend to operate at one tonal extreme or another—but he always adds another horn player to his front line, and in Noi Siamo it's terrific Swedish trumpeter Niklas Barnö, a member of the trio Snus with bassist Joel Grip and drummer Didier Lasserre. (The group is rounded out by drummer Konrad Agnas, a new name to me.) Resiliency was recorded live at Stockholm's invaluable Glenn Miller Cafe, a cozy bar and restaurant where the musicians practically sit in the diners' laps. That helps explain the immediacy of the session, particularly on the extended pieces "Krigarens Väg" and "Magnetism," which both run more than 15 minutes—Pinton and Barnö unfurl extended improvisations with electric intensity, always plugged into the agile, shape-shifting rhythm section. In such cases Pinton's compositions function as loose road maps, but elsewhere his writing dictates the performances more closely.
Below you can hear a slightly anomalous track from the new album, "L'Acquilone," a meditative, nicely sketched-out ballad with a double-time rhythmic feel a la Ornette Coleman. For the entirety of the piece Pinton and Barnö play together, stating the unison theme and pairing their probing, multilinear improvisations.