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Mitteleuropa Ensemble: Frammenti

C. Michael Bailey By

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A Multicultural Surprise. My AAJ colleague Glenn Astarita forwarded this Mitteleuropa disc my way describing it as “Italian Jazz”. I have had some experience with RED records, Sergio Veschi’s Milano venture that includes documenting performing Italian Jazz musicians. With this in mind, I approached Frammenti ( Fragments ) with a somewhat pinched expectation and what I got was a musically eye-opening experience. I was expecting something mainstream and got something from the fringes.

The disc opener is a little Antony and Cleopatra with Olatz Gorrotxategi’s eerie voice sounding very North African. “Surabaya Johnny” sounds like pre-war Berlin cabaret. The remainder of the disc defies description, being a melting pot of cultures deftly blended musically. This music is like mixing hip-hip, Bluegrass, Western Swing, and Show tunes and making it all work. The musicianship is uniformly fine (or else this type of disc would never have worked— and for that matter, it might not). There is something here for all listeners to appreciate. The wisdom, challenge, and fun is finding it.

Track Listing: Wide; Surabaya Johnny; Il Paradiso Sui Tetti; Iluna Teilatutan; Start; Franziska; Carolina. (Total Playing Time 63:06).

Personnel: Olatz Gorrotxategi: Soprano Voice; Mario Fragiacomo: Tromba, flugelhorn, Luca Bonvini: Trombone, slide trumpet; Robert Favilla, Jr.: keyboards; Robert Della Grotta: Bass; Filippo Monico: Drums.

| Record Label: Iktius | Style: Fringes of Jazz


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