Manuel Muzzu is an acclaimed Italian jazz bassist and composer from the Mediterranean island of Sardinia. His compositional style places the bass guitar front and center, taking what is traditionally an accompanying instrument, and giving it a lead, melodic role. But regardless, Muzzu’s exquisite technique would make anyone sit up and take notice. As well as releasing three of his own albums, he has become an accomplished session player, and collaborated with incredible musicians from all around the world, in a multitude of genres and styles. We reviewed Muzzu’s magnificent 3-Ree album back in 2020, and are now delighted to be able to talk about his fourth full-length release, From T(h)ree to Four. It is an instrumental jazz-fusion delight, featuring some of the best and brightest guest musicians from Europe and North America.
On My Side starts with some superb, conversational bass lines amidst a wash of cymbals and moody electric-piano chords. The track then settles into a laid-back, funk groove, with Gianpiero Carta taking the first lead break on the saxophone. The band glides through several contrasting sections with ease, highlighting each instrument one by one, including an exquisite piano solo by Asciano Scano which makes great use of fourth-voicings.
Punky Funky grooves just the way you would expect from its title. Muzzu employs a slap technique on his bass, which has been recorded with a striking phaser effect. Keyboard stabs provide an extra rhythmic punch between Muzzu’s bass and drummer Sebastiaan Cornelissen’s superb rolls.
Scano’s extended piano chords provide rich, harmonic movement during the introduction of Lost In. It’s a slow, wistful piece that introduces the talents of Massimo Cossu. Cossu takes a gorgeous lead break on the acoustic guitar at the halfway mark that blends expressive slide-work and sophisticated diminished arpeggios.
Cornelissen’s ability to chop and change between rhythmic feels is well and truly on show during the fun, invigorating boogie that is Salsamba. His syncopated, all-around-the-kit filling starts off the proceedings before he nestles into a tight samba groove, while the bass and piano play the melody in an interlocked fashion. Muzzu gets some extraordinary, fuzzy tones out of his bass guitar in this one – he manages to sound much like a trumpet at one point.
Muzzu’s bass melody guides us through the complex meter changes at the beginning of Right Now before a soulful, smoky, saxophone break. There’s some beautiful piano playing going on here too. Scano’s cascading voicings lead us through a mesmerizing itinerary of key changes, and his left-hand drops down to match Muzzu’s register, with the two musicians locking in on a very hip bass motif.
Cornelissen settles into a more laid-back rock groove for URBANOISES, and Muzzu doesn’t hold back on the funk on this one either, employing a mixture of slap-bass and tight, octave-enclosed lines to hold down the groove while the rest of the band take turns at soloing. Of particular note is the trumpet break played by Emanuele Dau, whose playing incorporates a mix of slow, drawn-out melodic lines and blistering triplet runs, with a splash of blues thrown in too. The track fades out with ambient city sounds; car horns, pedestrian footsteps, and the sound of rain falling on the pavement – reinforcing the feeling of urban soul-searching that is embedded in the music.
T(h)ree to Four is a captivating listen from top to bottom. You can tell that Muzzu has put a lot of thought into the musicians that he chose to accompany him on the album. Each one plays with flawless detail and brings their own style and flair to his exceptional compositions. This is contemporary jazz-fusion music through and through, but at the same time, it is extremely accessible to the uninitiated listener. Those unfamiliar with Muzzu’s work will be awestruck by the way that, for the most part, it is his bass work that’s doing all of the melodic heavy lifting. Muzzu is most certainly a modern genius, and we urge you to check out this wonderful exploration of musical styles.
BELOW: Check out our full artist interview with Manuel Muzzu, listen to From T(h)ree to Four, and connect with his website and social media platforms, watch his music video, and find his booking & contact information. Please support Manuel Muzzu by visiting him online, and playing, downloading, and/or purchasing his music, or attending a live show! And, as always, thank you for supporting real music!
Check out our interview with MANUEL MUZZU:
Follow, stream, download & connect with MANUEL MUZZU online:
Listen to FROM T(H)REE TO FOUR by MANUEL MUZZU:
Watch MANUEL MUZZU’s music video for the song SPARKLE PURPLE:
Booking & contact information for MANUEL MUZZU:
Contact: Manuel Muzzu