Gianluigi Trovesi Octet

From G to G

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Reedman and composer Gianluigi Trovesi is one of the leading lights on the Italian avant-jazz scene (a scene still little known in the U.S.), and From G to G is one of his finest recordings. Leading an octet that includes the masterful and zany trumpeter Pino Minafra, Trovesi put together a series of compositions and performances that could hold their own against similarly sized American ensembles of the same time like those led by David Murray or Henry Threadgill. The delightfully dancing melody that enters midway through the opener, "Herbalk," gives some indication of the uniquely Italian spin imparted by Trovesi as he makes free use of material with roots in the Italian folk tradition, melding it artfully with the dissonant strains of post- Coltrane jazz. "Now I Can" opens with a wonderfully wacky tuba and penny whistle duo; settles into an infectious, bumptious theme; and just when you think they're prepared to ride the groove out, a series of even more playful percussion breaks emerges. And when you think, "That's got to be enough," Minafra commandeers the megaphone for some inspired and loony vocalizing (he reprises this lunacy on the closing cut). Trovesi always keeps the listener on his/her toes, and his own playing is very tasty, his alto summoning echoes of Arthur Blythe, his bass clarinet in a realm all his own. The title track is yet another delicate melody, but with enough strength to provide a solid underpinning for fine, creamy solos by Minafra and trombonist Migliardi, among others. There's always a strong sense of ensemble here, with underlying riffs, calls and responses, and a subtle but expansive array of instrumental colors at play throughout. From G to G is, aside from being a highlight of Trovesi's career, a superb introduction to the unfortunately insular but extremely rich world of Italian contemporary jazz. Highly recommended.

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