The Italian Instabile Orchestra is a large ensemble, formed in 1990 by the trumpeter Pino Minafra, and Live in Noci was their first release. Drawing musicians from across several disparate disciplines, the group tends to travel between free jazz, Italian folk traditions, contemporary classical ideas, and general good-natured wackiness, in some sense the Southern European version of bands like Willem Breuker's Kollektief. The "kitchen sink" approach, while enjoyably dizzying at times, tends to work against cohesiveness in certain compositions and may aggravate the listener just settling into a particularly nice section. The opening track for instance, Paolo Damiani's "Detriti," has several lovely portions, any one of which might have been comfortably stretched into a separate piece instead of episodically placed back to back. Likewise, Eugenio Columbo's "Ippopatami" begins in a delightful rampage befitting its subject, but then veers off into a relatively standard free jazz blowing fest. In fairness, Minafra, in his "Noci...Strani Frutti No. 1," is able to bring enough out and out wackiness to make one toss any reservations aside and just go with the flow, and there are more than enough fine musicians in this band so that one can simply listen to appreciate their soloing art. But one has the impression of more potential here than realization, fun though the ride may be.
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AllMusic Review by Brian Olewnick