Giuseppe Paradiso & Meridian 71 – Parallel Dimensions (2022)

Giuseppe Paradiso and his conceptual band Meridian 71 are capturing feelings of optimism and hope through the tracks of Parallel Dimensions. A product of multi-culturalism, the EP brings the drive of acid jazz to splashes of Eastern tones and drone for an exciting listening experience. While the EP was born of the pandemic, there is the immutable shine of the human spirit woven into each track, giving the positive boost that weary souls need.

Led by versatile Italian drummer Paradiso, Meridian 71 has a dynamic and revolving line-up that keeps everything fresh. Pushed by the driving vision to inspire through music, the band bridges cultural divides and offers an improvised music link to different traditions. The third EP from the band, their music continues to captivate and showcase what we can do if we all work together.

The EP opens with ‘Kaizen’ which was named for the Japanese philosophy of continuous change. The music slowly builds like the rising of the sun with the vocals calling out to the rays of dawn. There is something about the opening of the track that speaks to the very essence of who we are as people. The tapping circles your head while the beats slowly build to rise up on the wings of the horns. There is a wonderful combination of jazz and Eastern Roma traditions that roll into the grooves of music. Through the movement of the song, you feel a searching through the soundscape that meets the exciting and warming experiences of life. These moments are tempered by a guitar and piano run that bring a splash of ominous vibes and a hint of caution. There are a lot of different musical traditions merging and undulating through the soundscape, in the most addictive way possible.

‘Memories of the Future’ brings the interesting times that we are living in to sonic glory. The dramatic opening tones of the piano flow into a softer movement that settles something inside your chest. The almost waltzing tone that follows has a melancholic edge that is taken to new heights by the strings. The melancholy has a bittersweet hint to it that brings a slow meander of memories and unfortunate experiences to life. The song is rich in nostalgic tones with a classical touch to the base of the music. As the track progresses, a steady flow of modernity makes its way into the soundscape, bringing an amazing contrast of nostalgic memories and bombardment of the modern world. You can easily get lost while listening to this track as the emotions and experiences of the melody sweep through you.

The almost haphazard drums that open ‘Joriki’ grab your attention before they roll into a wonderful solo. The paced roll of the drums shakes up your insides, leading to a coiling of energy that is waiting to explode out of your muscles. While the majority of the opening section of the track is just drums, it showcases the evocative power of the instrumentation. The traditional tones of the vocals that rise from the depths of the soundscape add a great texture to the track. The jazzier tones that try to make their way through in the opening half are overtaken by the funky jazz roll of drums. This is a very interesting track that uses a small number of instruments to keep you utterly hooked from start to finish.

‘It’s Only the Beginning’ has an almost fairy tale touch to the opening melodic line that is soft like a fairy dancing across mushrooms. The drone resting in the low levels adds a tension to the opening that evaporates as the piano line enters and the horns saunter their way through the soundscape. This is a much softer track compared to the one before and uses a rich vintage feeling to enthral. The horns are sublime as they take your hand and lead you through the movement of the song. The piano adds these light tones that twinkle in the corner of your eye. Every instrument adds to the small smile that appears on your face as you slowly feel your body start to relax as you listen. The musicality and skills of the musicians is beautifully showcased in this track.

The title track ‘Parallel Dimensions’ gets your attention with the dark vibration of the bass. A jazzy feeling starts to build over it as your toes tap to the rhythm. There is a slow build to the music that leads you into the horns, while the piano dances across their sound. This is one of the jazzier tracks on the EP and has you swaying to the seductive movement of the instrumentation. There are times when the music builds to a crest, only for the crescendo to evaporate and leave you at the start of the build-up. It is an interesting composition that has you assuming you know where things are going only for everything to turn in the smoothest possible way.

The EP comes to a close with the groove-infused ‘Tony’. From the first moment, the grooves take hold of your muscles and get you moving the rhythm. The clapping tones add a strange sense of personality to the music that offers a connection that you can’t resist. The drums play a large role in this track as they drive you into each solo while offering a platform for the different instruments to bounce off. The interplay between the instruments fuses jazz with world music, forming a duet between the drums and the other instruments. It is an exciting track that brings the best of all the instruments into play and leaves you wanting more.

Giuseppe Paradiso & Meridian 71 showcase the power of their instruments through the vintage yet modern, jazzy fusion tones of Parallel Dimensions. The six tracks of the EP are all completely different as the jazz rises to groovy sways and melancholic horns. Within each of the tracks, each instrument gets the chance to shine while contributing to the captivating whole.

Find out more about Giuseppe Paradiso & Meridian 71 on their website, Facebook, Instagram and Spotify.

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