The combination of vibraphone and sax gives XYQuartet an airy feel, tracing geometric lines with a modern shade of swing.
That’s the idea, of course; the name represents the axes of classical and jazz. It also brings to mind the cross-currents of Nicola Fazzini’s saxophone and Saverio Tasca’s vibes, representing the lead voices (although it’s Fazzini and bass guitarist Alessandro Fedrigo who founded the band).
It’s an enjoyable set of cleanly modern tunes, mostly upbeat. You’ll hear touches of minimalism and the complexity of serialism, but on most tracks, there’s always somebody — often, drummer Luca Colussi — infusing some healthy jazz abandon into the music. A good example is “Spazio Angusto,” with its stark 11/8 briff backed by light, swingy drumming.
On the more classical side, you’ve got “H2O,” which opens as a nearly academic exercise in rhythm but quickly veers into a jazzy phase, and “Tatami,” an exercise in futuristic minimalism with a dose of wide-open free improv.
Overall, though, the jazz axis tends to win out. “Futuritmi” is a pumping straight-jazz tune built around an odd time signature, which seems appropriately quirky. “Doppio Sogno” likewise falls far to the jazz side of the chart:
XY and a previous album, Idea F, are available for free download at nusica.org. Nusica is a nonprofit, so a tip or even a CD purchase would be a nice gesture. You can also hear the band on Soundcloud.