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Record Label Profiles

Ictus Records

By Published: March 18, 2006
He went to college in Bologna, studying antiquated systems of musical notation and attending concerts in music workshops when he could. At one of those, he met drummer Pierre Favre, who encouraged him to start sending tapes to journalists and other musicians. One of those ended up in the hands of pianist and composer Georgio Gaslini, who hired him for his group. Eventually he met Lacy in Paris and began corresponding with him. Lacy offered to come to Italy for some concerts and Centazzo set up shows in Milan, Rome and Bologna, as well as the recording session that resulted in the first Ictus release. Six months later, he toured with Lacy and Kent Carter, and, with the money he earned, put out the record. Since then, most Ictus releases have been funded hand-to-mouth, each making the next one possible.

Ictus has had the occasional benefactor as well. Centazzo organized a performance of his Environment for Sextet in 1978 for broadcast by WKCR in New York. It's a remarkable early example of the sounds and modes the early Downtown players were experimenting with, featuring Cora, Chadbourne, Zorn, Toshinori Kondo and Polly Bradfield. Centazzo had the tape in hand but no funds to release it and the only way it saw the light of day was through a loan from Cora. Guitarist Henry Kaiser has also made loans to help the label put out titles, Centazzo said.

Ictus has continued as a documentation of his compositions, but those releases were virtual he said and were only available as paid downloads. But with the assistance of the Polish Jazz Network, the label has returned with a remarkable back catalogue, beautiful packaging, and hopes for the future. (Centazzo discounts the Ictus reissues the label Robi Doli released in 2000 as worse than the original LPs.) In April, he will record a duo with Italian saxophonist Carlo Actis Dato. And then—continuing the bold rebirth—he will issue an eight-disc set of percussion solos, duos and trios, featuring himself along with Favre, Alex Cline, David Moss and others.

Centazzo said he's glad to be making inroads into the improvised music scene again. "It's difficult, but I'm happy because at least I'm playing, he said. "I put out the box set to see if there is any reaction, like 'Hey, the guy is back!' Who knows?


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