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There is a wonderful, sweeping cinematic quality to Colors of Red Island. With ghostly bass drum bombs and the clack of steady rim-shots that precedes an ethereal undulating piano lick mimicked by an equally ethereal trumpet, the music unfolds; a soundtrack that accompanies an artist's journey towards a Utopian setting, not far from earth, but at the same time, separate enough to be free of its everyday preponderances of the rat race. Leaving the rats above ground, the musician retreat to the magical nether world, Red Island, a space where it matters not whether the sun shines. The landscape is replaced by the soundscape and all flows from here. This is the sub-text. Now, the music that percussionist, flutist and keyboard player, Claudio Scolari has created with percussionist, vibraphonist and bassist, Daniele Cavalca...
Improvising on the dreamy score as envisioned by its creators, the musicians take their cues from where each takes the music rather than from a written or suggested passage. Clearly the idea is to navigate a path that spells out a percussive language that is spoken by the musicians on Red Island. But there are also dreamscapes that are suggested by variations of moody trumpet and dancing rhythms produced by both trap sets (both the main protagonistsScolari and Cavalcaplay traps) and percussion that varies from metal triangles and tubes, and the more earthy batas and congas. The interplay between bass and piano, or bass and synthesizer on some tracks is interesting as it introduces an element of fluidity to an otherwise percussive soundscape.
Remarkably the music returns to the song form at the very end of the soundtrack. "Cold Landscape" is a fine 32-bar set with an emotionally charged melody that the musicians read straight before short improvisatory excursions create something of turbulence across the song's bridge. The song comes after the desolation of "Infinite Silence," the penultimate section of the itinerant suite that evolves when small hand-drums collide with the hiss and wail of bamboo flutes that appear to restore the suite to a semblance of calm after some rather stormy middle passages. It also presages the ultimate cheer of the song that carves a heart into this otherwise barren soundscape, confirming that there are real characters on Red Island, who feel the music, even in its most defiantly distant moods.
The Scolaris (father and trumpet-playing son) and Daniel Cavalca plat flawlessly, interpreting an obviously thinly suggested and difficult score with expert technique and something of an inspired reading of its hidden parts. This is a stand out project that is reminiscent of some of the best European improvised music that was first brought to North America by the likes of Jan Garbarek and Eberhard Weber. However, now it is the time of the Scolaris and Cavalca.
Track Listing: Colors of Red Island; Movement Inspiration; Variation of Movement; Dialogues Night; Earth Dances Explosions; Improvised Sentimental Song; Electric Light Over Water; Emotion Appearance; Winds of Metamorphosis; Infinite Silence; Cold Landscape.
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.