Anyone familiar with the Splasc(h) Records label knows of the seemingly inexhaustible supply of accomplished Italian jazz musicians. This sextet further reinforces the point (although the talented tuba player Michel Godard is, of course, not Italian). The unusual instrumentation (a front line of two reeds and tuba, with a rhythm section of bass, guitar, and drums) emphasizes the bold idiosyncratic nature of the group, who performs a mixed bag of original compositions written mostly by leaders Mario Arcari and Francesco D'Auria. There is an abstract quality to the music that while not falling into the genre of free jazz nevertheless displays a light and gently swinging gait that flirts with open harmonies but that is sometimes unfocused. At its best, as on the opening "Hotel Cinema," the music pulls together disparate elements in a display of virtuosic soloing. Mirabassi's clarinet playing stands out for its creativity, although his role as a soloist is generally limited. On "Mamba Nero," Mario Arcari contributes an unusually aggressive improvisation on soprano sax followed by hard-edged solos by Mirabassi and Godard. Francesco D'Auria plays a mostly supporting role, which he handles particularly well on the difficult "Mamba Nero." The compositions incorporate a wide palette, from local folk melodies to hints of Eastern European dances. On the very pretty "Cercando la Tigre," Arcari's tuneful oboe sings beautifully, a lovely ending to a somewhat uneven recording.
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AllMusic Review by Steve Loewy