Francesco Chiapperini Extemporary Vision Ensemble

The Big Earth

Italian multi-instrumentalist Francesco Chiapperini takes a 12-piece version of his Extemporary Vision Ensemble into the studio for The Big Earth. And this time out, the album’s dedicated to a place and concept: Puglia (the heel of Italy’s boot) and the history of Southern Italian band music. There’s a lot of joy and a little mystery in the music here, bringing to mind outdoor carnivals and, occasionally, darker side streets.

Chiapperini absolutely soars on clarinet during the recurring “Gatti” theme. He’s also a generous bandleader, and his ensemble gets plenty of room to shine. Pianist Simone Quatrana is solid throughout, but especially on “La Merc D’Palm”; drummers Filippo Monico and Filippo Sala rarely let the momentum flag, and are given their chance to shine on the third appearance of the “Gatti” theme. It’s an infectious and joyous 70 minutes that even might prompt booking a journey to the boot-heel of Italy.