Multi-instrumentalists/composers Giuseppe Doronzo and Pino Basile make up two-thirds of the AVA Trio. On their newest duo project, Aterraterr, the pair offer compositions influenced by the music of their mutual roots in the Apulian region in Italy.
Doronzo is an Amsterdam-based baritone saxophonist with a background in jazz improvisation, classical and non-western music. He has performed with saxophonists Joe Lovano, Chris Potter, trombonist Robin Eubanks and trumpeters Paolo Fresu, Taylor Ho Bynum, and many other prominent artists. Basile has a vast range of musical experiences, having worked in jazz, classical, theatre music, dance, and contemporary circus theatre.
Part of the premise on Aterraterr is to move the listener omnidirectionally. Doronzo and Basile have created pieces described as "music that is completely fresh and, at the same time, centuries-old." Much of the music's implied antiquity is realized in the presence of their unusual instruments, such as the tamburrello and Iranian bagpipes. The introductory piece, "Favo," slowly and carefully steps out from unfamiliar territory before opening up the music in a space that the duo finally claims for themselves. The duo breaks out dual Apulian globular flutes on "Albarelli," a composition infused with folkloric traditions from both sides of the Adriatic Sea. The duo takes a minimalist approach with the evocative "Maggese," featuring baritone sax and cupaphon, then switch gears for the far busier, Eastern-influenced "Katsikodromos." The baritone sax gives a throatiness to the serpentine lines of the ten-minute "Strazzavisazz," and the effect is head-spinning. Basile punctuates Doronzo's reeds with sharp frame drum accents.
There is powerful historical and musical imagination at work here. A variety of themes, styles, and multifaceted rhythms fill Aterraterr with ear-opening energy. There is an appealing rawness to the sound that adds to its organic quality. Doronzo and Basile have produced a collection that is stimulating, engaging, and altogether different.
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