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Musician and producer Gino Robair organized this recording shortly after the 1998 Dreamin’ California Festival in Palermo. The participants assembled in varying duos and trios to record short improvisational pieces, playing everything from traditional instruments to styrofoam and something called ‘The Bug.’
As you can guess, the results are a mixed bag of music making... something for everyone, except maybe Tony Bennett fans.
While the Palermo born saxophonist Gianni Gebbia only plays on seven of the nineteen tracks, his presence looms large here. His recording output, mostly on Rastascan and the Italian label Splasc(h), document his extraordinary technique. Think Eric Dolphy meets Mats Gustafsson. His solo saxophone recordings are worth hunting for; the best so far might be Arcana Major/Sonic Tarot Session (Rastascan 2001).
Gebbia’s alto saxophone provide the strongest performances of A Night In Palermo. He plays in straight jazz settings as a duo with bassist Damon Smith, accompanying vocalist Miriam Palma, and with the odd arrangements of Robair playing toys and Tom Nunn working his sound sculpture called The Bug. Definitely the Shelley Hirsch of Sicily, Palma combines operatic performances with spoken word and improvisational vocalizations.
This union of West Coast and Italian improvisers adds another layer to the growing diversity of the creative music scene. The collaborations heard here represent a fresh approach to the least predictable of all music.
Track Listing: Dossier; Earl Ghetto; Nina in Dogma; Hilt o Vento; Gabbio; Tngnt; Olga Hitler (the gorilla); Mortal
Plan; Godmania Inn; Assai Bout; Squeeze; Renatzu Riga; Goo Line; Aryl;Bangui Eng; Gauge;
Mirgarjanni; The Mint Geisha Investigates A Moth; Zing Aria.
Personnel: Gianni Gebbia - Alto Saxophone; Lelia Giannetto - Double Bass; Tom Nunn - The Bug; Miriam
Palma - Voice; Garth Powell - Percussion, Saw, Waterphone; Gino Robair - Styrofoam, Cymbal, Bike
Horn, Toy Reed; Damon Smith - Double Bass.
Years ago now--in Rhodesia--listening to Voice of America with Willis Conover I heard Bunk Johnson play When The Saints Go Marching In, and Billie Holiday sing Don't Explain. I knew then there was no other life for me than jazz.