Giorgio Gaslini

Giorgio Gaslini Meets...

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A very mysterious release, issued in 1976 with virtually no discographical information, though Giorgio Gaslini's discography lists it as having been recorded in 1973. But perhaps the biggest mystery is how this bevy of musicians from the fringes of the jazz avant-garde managed to rope in violinist Jean-Luc Ponty, already at this point tearing things up on the jazz-fusion circuit. True, what sparse thematic material there is (by Gaslini) tends to be of a martial and somewhat mechanical nature, not all that far removed from some of Frank Zappa's compositions with whom Ponty had just enjoyed a productive relationship, but the vast majority of time here is spent in free improvisation. Ponty, on wah-wah-enhanced electric violin throughout, acquits himself fairly well, but he's eclipsed by the stellar lineup, especially Steve Lacy (in unusually ornery form) and Tony Oxley, whose colorful percussion enlivens the entire affair. Both Gaslini's playing and composing show the influences of Thelonius Monk (including some direct quotes) and George Russell, while the second piece sounds oddly like an Abdullah Ibrahim composition. Giorgio Gaslini Meets is an uneven session and a bit of an oddity, but the unique personnel combination makes it one worth hearing.

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