Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

174

Simone Guiducci Gramelot Ensemble: Dancin' Roots

By

Sign in to view read count
Musicians have been combining various musical genres with jazz for decades and the results are often pretty messy. Jazz doesn't mix as well with its musical brethren as one might hope: often its improvisational side is diluted and all that survives the graft is an empty virtuosity. That's why the achievement of Italian acoustic guitarist Simone Guiducci and his Gramelot Ensemble is so stunning; as evidenced by Dancin' Roots , their fusion of jazz with various European and Middle-Eastern folk traditions is as natural-sounding and fun as it is musicianly and well-considered.

The core of Gramelot—Guiducci, accordionist Fausto Beccalossi, clarinetist Achille Succi, drummer Roberto Dani, and acoustic bassist Salvatore Maiore—is here augmented with guests Don Byron (on clarinet only), trumpeter Ralph Alessi (who guested on the last Guiducci/Gramelot CD, Chorale , and who seems as flawlessly absorbed into the group chemistry as any core member) and, on the tune "Chorale n.2, pianist Andy Milne. Five of the album's ten songs are composed by Guiducci, but each of the Gramelot guys—and Alessi—contribute a song (two from Beccalossi). Guiducci's the leader, but this is truly ensemble music, produced by a group mind. While the leader's solos are stunning (his physical, partially-vocalized, flamenco-infused solo on "La Tur dal Sucar, for example, played first over Dani's hand percussion and Succi's bass clarinet and then over a growing polyphony of the other players, is paint-peelingly intense), what most impresses is the sound of the group: a moving, dynamic, living organism.

Everyone contributes memorable solo moments (Succi's saxophone-sounding bass clarinet on "Come Dici, say, or guest Byron on the Bach-evoking "Gramelot Dance ), but it's the way the players emerge from the group, individually and in various combinations—only to fall back into the musical Gamelon stew—that fascinates. This group is tight , too: their stop-on-a-dime segue from furious improvisation straight into the so-Italian singsong theme of the aforementioned "La Tur dal Sucar makes me want to go see this band—right now.

The ethnic folk side of the group is less prominent on Alessi's "Irony, where Guiducci plays some marvelous progressions over an ominous Dani/Maiore groove, and more prominent on Maiore's frolicsome, melodic "Nedah. In any case, the elements of the group's sound—ethnic, folk, baroque, and jazz—always sound organic, never calculated or artificially inserted. Dancin' Roots is great to listen to right out of the shrinkwrap, but it'll stay with you: its top-notch group cohesion and sturdy tunes won't grow tired as the album's novelty fades. With this release, Simone Guiducci and his Gramelot Ensemble surely must be seen as one of the world's best working jazz groups.

Track Listing: 1. Maestro dei Sogni (intro) 2. Gramelot Dance 3. Canzone per Miranda 4. La Tur dal Sucar 5. Chorale n.2 6. Come Dici 7. Irony 8. Blanc 9. Nedah 10. Maestro dei Sogni

Personnel: Simone Guiducci: acoustic guitar; Fausto Beccalossi: accordion; Ralph Alessi: trumpet; Achille Succi: bass clarinet, clarinet; Don Byron: clarinet; Roberto Dani: drums, percussion; Salvatore Maiore: acoustic bass; Andy Milne: piano (#5 only)

Title: Dancin' Roots | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Felmay

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Album Reviews
Interviews
Album Reviews
Read more articles

Shop

Start your shopping here and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read Live at the Black Musicians' Conference, 1981 Album Reviews
Live at the Black Musicians' Conference, 1981
By John Sharpe
January 20, 2019
Read More Than One Thing Album Reviews
More Than One Thing
By Gareth Thompson
January 20, 2019
Read Wandering Monster Album Reviews
Wandering Monster
By Roger Farbey
January 20, 2019
Read Pattern Recognition Album Reviews
Pattern Recognition
By Chris M. Slawecki
January 20, 2019
Read Come And Stay With Me: The UK 45's 1964-1969 Album Reviews
Come And Stay With Me: The UK 45's 1964-1969
By Doug Collette
January 19, 2019
Read Beggars Banquet 50th Anniversary Edition Album Reviews
Beggars Banquet 50th Anniversary Edition
By Doug Collette
January 19, 2019
Read Circuits Album Reviews
Circuits
By Sammy Stein
January 19, 2019