Claudio Giglio

South Music

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Claudio Giglio is a member of the new generation of Italian jazzers, those who learned well from their forefathers and who believe that the possibilities for the avant-garde are inextricably linked to the anchors of tradition, which are not only possible but necessary building blocks in any music that is to call itself truly new. It cannot exist in a vacuum and must be a part of a continuum. To that end, Giglio has assembled a young band with progressive members of his generation, plugged in most of the instruments, and gone about making a music that is as beautiful as it is forward-thinking. For starters, there is none other than master improviser and composer Nuccio Intrieri on piano and synthesizer, along with Massimo Moriconi on double and electric Peavey bass and master percussionist Giampaolo Ascolese on drums, glockenspiel, and assorted acoustic and electric percussion instruments. The disc starts out with "Fiori Nella Jungla," a tune that borrows as much from Pierre Dørge's New Jungle Orchestra and Codona as it does from the jazz of Italy. Here, loping West African melodic figures are caught between collapsible rhythms and intervallic modes of carrying the shifting harmonics through from East to West. The interplay between Moriconi and Ascolese is so intimate that it is breathless. Giglio keeps his melodic improvising floating above the entire proceeding as Intrieri makes the harmonic shifts by first disregarding the changes and then vamping off the chameleon-like lyricism of Giglio. Later, on "Jampazzianna," the funkiness of the blues splits its identity with near ceremonial African rhythms and Weather Report-style syncopation. What's avant-garde about that? It's the integration of all of this music in the service of, rather than the distancing from, jazz. If Weather Report had been able to tone down the egos a bit, and not worry about charting singles, they might have arrived at a music that was this lush, this full, this forward-thinking, taking into account the incessant movement of urban culture even as it tries desperately to look over its shoulder for a past it no longer totally believes was there in the first place. South Music is the proof in the pudding that those ghosts are not only real, but they can sing too. Awesome.

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