Italian composer and drummer extraordinaire Vincenzo Lanzo has assembled a gaggle of his compadres to pay tribute to a place he spent time in as a child, living with paternal grandparents. To compose a work in this manner is one thing, but to have the hallmark of memory influence your composition in the real of free jazz is quite another. Lanzo's gang, numbering nine, is an awesome and terrifying thing. Utilizing not only jazz instruments like reds, sax, piano, bass, and so on, he also employs folk instruments such as the accordion and the violin as well as a vocalist to further illustrate his poetic nostalgia. The work begins with a solo drum "canto," followed by an intro proper which features four minutes of solo kit work before the ensemble enters with a folk melody and slips into a bluesy groove. This grove becomes the theme form which all improvisation takes place over the entire work. It is returned to every time there is a change in the story, moving from jazz to Italian tarantella to folk to classical, the soulful, bittersweet melodic theme keep it in the pocket of glide and groove. The vocal narration and singing, however, mar these seamless jazz interludes by being maudlin and overly ornate considering how restrained everyone else is. It's too bad too. If the listener can overlook these occasional forays into unintentional comedy, Lanzo's music is well worth investigating.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek