Italian jazz continues to surprise and impress American ears. And just as a West Coast musician would not be labeled in the same jazz category as a Chicago or a Texas player, Riccardo Pittau's jazz cannot be pigeonholed as Italian or Sardinian (his residence) jazz.
His Congregation music falls somewhere in the wormhole opened up in the post-Milesian, creative jazz that spawned the NY Downtown scene, M-Base, Amsterdam, and Chicago's new jazz experiments. That vaporous quality of music-making yields eclectic and in this instance a very compelling session.
Pittau, a composer and trumpeter assembles a luminary cast here, from the innovative saxophonist Gianni Gebbia to a Sardinian guitar master Paolo Angeli. His music is realized in 26 short pieces that arrange the Congregation into everything from quintet to duos.
Pittau opens sounding a bit like Jon Hassell
, then morphs into Miles Davis
, circa Man With the Horn
(Columbia, 1981) on "Nieuport 11," but also would be comfortable in Steve Coleman
's bands (as demonstrated on "... Prima Di Venire All'inferno!!!") or perhaps on an ECM session. Yes, he has collected plenty of sounds and this band is ever ready to exorcise them.
The pleasure here are the novellas written as part of a longer narrative. One that is cemented together by the guitarist and at times the bass playing of Vincenzo Vasi. This recording is many things, including a stellar showcase for the extended techniques of the trumpet, saxophone, and guitar. They prefer simple melodies, but even venture into a bit of Mike Patton ala Faith No More vocals on "Deep Hate" and some funk with "Joie De Vivre." But all within the softhearted low-key concept for music making.
Personnel: Riccardo Pittau: trumpet, distorted trumpet; Francesco Cusa: drums, percussion; Vincenzo Vasi: electric bass, theremin, vocals; Cap. Paolo Angeli: prepared Sardinian guitar; "joraku" Gianni Gebbia: alto saxophone, white noise.