Giulia Valle Group: Danza Imprevista (2007)
How refreshing and inspiring it is to hear a recording like Danza Imprevista. The level of musicianship, sincerity, and compositional verve is immediately apparent from the opening notes of the opening track. Here is an excellent example of a quintet speaking as one voice. The commitment that this group brings to these compositions is what brings this music alive so passionately.
All of the music was written and arranged by bassist Giulia Valle with the exception of "Musica Das Nuvens e do Chao," by Hermeto Pascoal. Her compositions stand up well next to the masterful Brazilian composer, and her compositions are the most compelling aspect of this disc. The choice of a Pascoal piece is interesting and revealing, in that Valle's compositional prowess is very much in league with his, and she explores that avenue of music with a strong young voice. The musicianship and technical ability of everyone involved in this project is extremely high, but the compositions themselves eclipse virtuosity, and take this recording to a whole different level of sonic experience. This is sophisticated jazz music with a myriad of influences: Spanish, Brazilian, European, Argentine, and American.
The music is comprised of complex, but accessible rhythmic figures. There are shades of conflicting emotional states. There are introspective, quiet solos, and boisterous solos dancing on roiling, charging rhythms. There is harmonic complexity and pathos. In other words, this is one helluva record.
"Sanremo" begins with a feeling much like something Rahsaaan Roland Kirk might have played, then shifts the overall tone into more of a Mingus ballad, ending with elements of a tango sensibility. "Chacarera Bulgara" begins with driving, kinetic rhythms before settling into a pastoral and shimmering tone poem, building slowly into a teeming maze of intertwined melodies before ending with a lively unison flourish. On Pascoal's "Musica" the group is so comfortable with its complex form that the song flows with grace and beauty. They also bring their own ideas and passions into the piecethe hallmark of mature artistry.
Anyone interested in modern jazz artists like Chris Potter, Chris Lightcap, David Binney, John Surman, and Dave Holland should find the music of Giulia Valle of great interest.
Track Listing: danza imprevista; carrer sant marti; laberinto; sanremo; chacarera bulgara; musica das nuvens e do chao; hindemith transfigurado; oye mi canto, libelula.
Personnel: Marti Serra: tenor and soprano saxes; Miguel "pintxo" Villar: tenor sax; Sergi Sirvent: piano and Fender Rhodes; Giulia Valle: bass; David Xirgu: drums.