The AP Project is a band formed by students from the conservatory of music in Naples (Italy). Its members include band leader Arcangelo Pezzella (guitar), Guido Foi (piano and keyboards), Alessandro Petricciuolo (bass), and Francesco Pellegrino (drums), and features Angela Addezio (vocals). Though the group comes from a jazz background, they prefer not to label their music in any way. “We all come from jazz,” says Pezzella, “but we all go somewhere else. That’s the best feature of our album,” he continues, “It’s a sonic journey through different yet similar soundscapes.” The AP Project took shape about a year ago, and self-produced their 8 track album “Out of The Blue”, which was officially released in June 2019.
The album opens brightly with “Hi.Ro.Mi.”, a very evocative track and probably one of the most atmospherically captivating of the record. The track begins with the clean notes of the piano, then the drums enter, keeping the time with great dynamic playing. The guitar comes in with resonating melodic lines which fills the canvas.
This introductory section builds in an asymmetric way, in the sense that the instruments seem to follow an individual pattern, but the result is very harmonious and pleasant. In just three and a half minutes, AP Project have already proved their talent in writing interesting music with charming atmosphere.
“Brighter” is a swinging sound carpet made of compelling bass and lively guitar excursions, sustained by sweeping piano interludes which all return to the flowing central theme. Francesco Pellegrino on percussion is a powerful and progressive player, while bassist Alessandro Petricciuolo drives along with his skillful, comfortable, never intrusive but dominating bass.
They are always tasteful. Of course, given the level of musical education that they bring to the studio they make it look easy. And that’s what I love about AP Project: Smooth, beautiful mixes, innovative style and very, very cool grooves. Another point of strength of this work is that every instrument has its own moments, and they are all on the same level of importance.
When the slower burn of “Dancing in the Dark” sets in, you’ll be hooked by the smoky and impactful voice Angela Addezio brings to the table. “Out of The Blue” is one of those albums where every one of the tracks is easily recognizable due to the complex but melodious progressions of Guido Foi’s piano chords, and obviously, to the catchy guitar phrasings by Arcangelo Pezzella, whose playing is interesting but also accessible in melody. He writes well constructed melodies that are also interesting from a theoretical point of view.
The album’s title track, “Out of The Blue” delivers an intense jazz-fusion arrangement, where the guitar and stop-start rhythm almost merge as one, becoming a twisting and virulent coupling. The instrumentation weaves majestically, delicate one minute, powerful and vibrant the next.
“Memories” is delicately smooth, beautifully dominated by the keyboards and Angela Addezio’s adlibs, while on “Desperate Love” we get the full-throated sultriness of Adezzio’s earthy vocal tones and nuances. She is simply sublime.
Arcangelo Pezzella makes his guitar sing with an unbelievable expressivity, on “Miss Bibi”, just using a catchy theme and which’s so immediate and simple that you can even sing it. Right behind him, Guido Foi is always ready to interact with incredible solos and improvisations. “Before You Leave” proves that technique and melodies can easily coexist, as Pezzella gives us another showcase of his tasteful guitar playing.
The AP Project’s material consists of elaborate and often intricate arrangements, which do allow some room for improvisation, but are full of interesting twists and turns, changes of mood, effective use of dynamics, instrumental colors and can really take one on an imaginary journey of the listener’s own design.
When one thinks of jazz music generally they’ll be thinking of legendary musicians who lived many decades ago. This is not the case, as the ambitious and fruitful “Out of The Blue” proves that the current generation still genuinely have an interest for real instruments, musical theory and technical expertise. The album should be appetizing to those into jazz music in all its forms as well as fans of intriguing chill-out, and soulful music.