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Alberto Braida / Lisle Ellis / Fabrizio Spera: Di Terra

Florence Wetzel By

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Di Terra is an international trio composed of New York-based Canadian Lisle Ellis (bass) and Italians Alberto Braida (piano) and Fabrizio Spera (drums). Ellis, the group's senior member, has had an important role in the Canadian improvised music scene, and through the years he's played with Cecil Taylor, Paul Bley, Peter Brotzmann, and Marilyn Crispell, as well as appearing on over forty recordings. Di Terra is one of Ellis' ongoing projects, and on this eponymous CD the group shines with intelligence and intensity.

The album offers twelve songs, all improvisations and most in the four to five-minute range. The titles are cryptic and vaguely sly: "What We Eat," "Future Whom," "Wake Up and Have an Appetite," Like the titles, there's something refreshingly unpredictable about Di Terra's music—it never goes quite where you expect it to. On "Prime Cose Che Vedi," for example, Braida has moments of lyrical lightness that quickly invert into their opposite; "Iya," which features beautiful bowing by Ellis, has interesting percussive twists by Spera and more upside-down runs by Braida.

When the trio plays full-on, it can sound enormous, but when one or more of the musicians step out, they can be quite spare. Some songs are opaque and subtle, like conversational shorthand, others are dissonant and wildly passionate, and many encompass both colors. All the musicians are strong, particuarly Ellis, with his fluid strength and inventive fingering, making Di Terra a cross-cultural trio worth a listen.

Track Listing: Right Out of Earth; What We Eat; Prime Cose Che Vedi; Iya; Super Contact (This is for Radio Canal Revelation); Passi (Sedimental Traveller); Djinn; Sif; Casa Terra; Reg; Wake Up and Have an Appetite; Future Whom.

Personnel: Alberto Braida: piano; Lisle Ellis: bass; Fabrizio Spera; drums.

Title: Di Terra | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Nu Bop

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