REVIEW: Szilárd Mezei, Tim Trevor-Briscoe & Nicola Guazzaloca’s “Cantiere Simone Weil”

Szilárd Mezei, Tim Trevor-Briscoe & Nicola Guazzaloca photo Mezei_cover_zps75wfvm5i.jpg As Cantiere Simone Weil (Aut) was beginning and processing, my first assumption was that this was a contemporary classical piece. Then as the music goes on, the saxophones were going off on a different label, making me realize “is this more on the jazz side?” Then I realized it may be a bit of both, or none.

The album by Szilárd Mezei (viola) Tim Trevor-Briscoe (alto and tenor saxophones, soprano and bass clarinets), and
Nicola Guazzaloca (piano) begins almost out of nowhere and even as the music slides along the way, I was unsure of where it was going, what it was doing or when I would be able to say “this is more classical than jazz but wait a minute: this IS jazz. Or is it?” Guazzaloca has always bee peculiar but in a good way and it’s nice to sit through the three piecs here and wondering where the end points will be or if they are just segueways towards the inevitable and if there is an inevitable, will I know if it is a true ending or just another starting point? Nonetheless, it was quite enjoyable, hearing it as a solid trio or as a light touching towards something that could be bigger and brighter.

REVIEW: Nicola Guazzaloca’s “Tecniche Arcaiche: Live At Angelica”

Nicola Guazzaloca photo NicolaG_cover_zps7ls1548d.jpg If the style of jazz you enjoy listening to is more on the improvisational and free side of things, you will definitely love Tecniche Arcaiche: Live At Angelica (Aut), a release by pianist Nicola Guazzaloca. For me, it’s hard to compare this to someone without someone more in-the-know saying “this sounds nothing like who you’re comparing this to” but this is the best way I can do it. Some of it sounds like what Richard Wright did during his part of Pink Floyd’s Ummagumma, where it seems like there may be a concept of what he wants to do but plays whatever inspires him at any given moment. “Parte Prima” is more on the noisy and chaotic side while the 27 minute “Parte Seconda” is slightly more musical and melodic. This recording was taken from a 2014 live performance so the audience were into the spontaneity as much as the home listener is, which honestly makes this a joy to listen to, or at least a joy on the verge of falling off into the unknown. Again, someone more in-the-know may have a more accurate description of what they’re hearing here and why but I liked this and would definitely be more into hearing another Guazzaloca project.

REVIEW: Guazzaloca, Montagne, Mongelli’s “Cups Glasses And Tanks”

 photo Guazzaloca_cover_zpsb3f763a8.jpg Cups Glasses And Tanks (Aut) is a new collaboration between Nicola Guazzaloca, Pablo Montagne, and Giacomo Mongelli, with Guazzaloca playing jazz while Montagne and Mongelli performing in a number of different classical configurations. The album is very much on the avant-garde side and while there are jazz central points, at the moments one would think they’re about to stay locked in something nice, they all go off into another world. I think what makes this work is that even when I was secure in being comfortable with what I’m hearing, they didn’t stay there that long, leading into something more mysterious. There were moments in Montagne when he plucked a certain string to scratch it, and it reminded me of Okkyung Lee. Then again, it may have been Guazzaloca scratching the piano strings. The music here is evenly beautiful and clustered, it’s easy to get in the middle and watch it from the outside while inside.

https://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/album=2933276476/size=large/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=9FAF34/tracklist=false/artwork=small/transparent=true/

REVIEW: Kongrosian’s “The Exit Door Leads In”

Kongrosian photo Kongrosian13_cover_zps657f91f7.jpg When you name your group after a Philip K. Dick character who felt his body odor was lethal, even if said order didn’t exist, and yet the one thing you’re known for is being the official White House pianist, and that you can play the piano with your mind, you know there are some head games going on. Perhaps that was the point when Alberto Collodel, Davide Lorenzon, and Ivan Pilat came up with Kongrosian, and the sounds they came up with on their debut album, Bootstrap Paradox (my review of which can be read here). With their brand new album, it is the continuation of the mind moving forward, figuring out what to do, where to go, and allowing the mind to take you, the creator and individual, where it feels it needs to be.

The Exit Door Leads In (Aut) is based after the title of a short story Dick wrote and published in 1979, and the entire album was written and put together in his honor. The assembly of creation in free jazz is something I enjoy, errors and all, and along the way they bring in Nello Da Pont (drums), Tim Trevor Briscoe (alto saxophone/clarinet), Edoardo Marraffa (tenor saxophone), Nicola Guazzaloca (piano), and Piero Bittolo Bon (alto saxophone, alto clarinet, and kou xiang) to help them on their mission. The majority of the tracks on the album are on-the-spot improvisations, and it’s nice to hear what they come up with in the spirit of the theme of the album. Four of the tracks were written by Kongrosian’s Pilat, while Bittolo Bon also offers up the very nice (and clever) “Sahdeecoolow”. Even the songs that have form tend to sound as if they have no form or structure due to the freeform feel of the other material here, but then things begin to gel and the listener (or at least I) gets a sense that all of this is meant to be. With multiple listens, I’m sure The Exit Door Leads In will reveal new things not felt before, and maybe that’s how it was meant to be as well.

http://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/v=2/album=1467902324/size=venti/bgcol=20735F/linkcol=DF7D79/