Mario Schiano


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Whoa! Now this is free jazz. On the Italian reed king's 28th record (recorded way back in 1991), Mario Schiano and the great Art Ensemble of Chicago drummer Famoudou Don Moye and fellow Italians Marcello Melis on bass and Giancarlo Schiaffini on trombone play one continuous session, put to tape as it was played, with safety nets removed and track numbers assigned only for the comfort of listeners. This set is the response to opponents of free music, or Uncaged music as it is referred to here. In the vast togetherness of their individualities, the dedication to expression of this group of four musicians is surpassed only by their collective commitment to listening to one another. Motifs, themes, variations, skeins of tonal clusters, and collages of notes are offered up, taken down, toyed with, reworked into other musical realities, and discarded with the same fluidity as water flowing from the tap. While Schiano is reportedly the leader, he makes the proceeding entirely democratic, as he often does, becoming a part of the ensemble rather than its impetus. Rhythm dictates change and change orders rhythm as sound itself becomes the prominent focus of improvisation: to unify sound in four parts even as it is examined, disassembled, and reorganized according to principles of the heart and ears in offerings of generosity and musical challenges. Here is free blowing as an interchangeable series of spiritual and emotional commodities. Wondrous.

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