Zu: Igneo (2002)
Upon their first tour of the United States this power packed Italian band sojourned into a Chicago studio to record with saxophonist Ken Vandermark and trombonist Jeb Bishop. While modern jazz cellist Fred Lomberg-Holm adds another dimension to this quartet’s high octane melding of progressive rock, free jazz and more. The band’s previous two releases featured avant-guitarist Eugene Chadbourne amid a tour of Europe, yet this outing perhaps summarizes what the quartet is all about!
The group and Lomberg-Holm come at you with a vengeance during the opener “The Elusive Character of Victory.” Here and throughout, the musicians seemingly, deploy and conquer a plethora of difficult time change to coincide with their succinctly stated choruses and pungently devised frameworks. Electric bassist Massimo Pupilla’s thick metallic tone and fluent lines provides an ominous bottom to complement drummer Jacopo Battaglia’s disciplined polyrhythmic attack. At times, they spark notions of a 70s King Crimson fusing free jazz with thrash rock to coincide with the windswept intensity of a tornado. Saxophonist Luca Tommaso Mai serves as a catalyst of sorts, via his propulsive attack and penchant for injecting sub-themes and rhythmic augmentations into these variegated scenarios. Vandermark and Bishop add fuel to the fire on “Tikkun Olam.” Whereas the band engages a rumbling and tumbling approach, complete with free-blowing mayhem and abrupt breaks in the action, during “Muri Torto.”
They’ve already made a name for themselves over in Europe, thanks to a robust touring schedule and guest appearances with household jazz names. As the group stands on its own in a rather prolific way! (To whom it may concern, this outfit warrants much more exposure here in the States.)...Strongly recommended
General information: firstname.lastname@example.org
Track Listing: 1.The Elusive Character of Victory 2.Solar Anus 3.Eli, Eli, Elu 4.Arbol de la Esperanza Mantente Firme 5.Monte Zu 6.Untitled Samba for Kat Ex 7.Muro Torto 8.Tikkun Olam 9.Mar Glaciale Artico
Personnel: Jacopo Battaglia: drums