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Marc Ribot: El General & Italian Doc Remix

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John Zorn
El General
Tzadik
2009


Marco Cappelli
Italian Doc Remix
Itinera
2008




Marc Ribot has an unusual combination of talents: a strong musical personality and an ability to give himself wholly to the realization of another musician's project. Perhaps it's most evident in his copious recordings with John Zorn including such projects as Electric Masada and The Dreamers. Ribot's skills as a collaborator and master of diverse idioms are evident throughout Zorn's soundtrack for El General and as a guest on Marco Cappelli's project Italian Doc Remix.

El General—Filmworks XXIII in Zorn's ongoing soundtrack series—was recorded for Natalia Almada's documentary about her great-grandfather, Plutarco Elias Calles, who ruled Mexico during the '20s. Apparently little of the resultant material is used in the film, but it stands on its own. Employing just a quartet with Rob Burger (accordion and piano), Kenny Wollesen (marimba, vibraphone and drums), Greg Cohen (bass) and Ribot on acoustic and electric guitars, Zorn has created a rich melodic tapestry that picks up subtle Mexican flavors from the accordion and marimba and combines them with a sense of drama reminiscent of a major influence, Ennio Morricone. There's a certain comic Western touch to the playful title track while Ribot brings a strong sense of romance along with his acoustic to "Besos de Sangre". The CD is bookended by works of high drama, from the looming passion of the opening "Los Cristeros" to the dream-like sustained guitar sound of "Exactemente ESO".

With Italian Doc Remix, guitarist Marco Cappelli is interested in exploring points of intersection between his Italian heritage, the processes of migration and a welter of contemporary approaches that include collective improvisation and turntable manipulation. He and drummer Jim Pugliese have assembled a fine band that includes Doug Wieselman (reeds), Jose Davila (trombone and tuba) and Ken Filiano (bass), with Ribot a guest on eight of the 13 tracks and DJ Logic a guest on ten. While the band drops to trio dimensions for three minute-long free improvisations between Cappelli and his guests—sudden fracturing explosions of gritty guitars and turntable sounds—most of the music is dense, intense and sustained, with Cappelli's compositions based on sources like a Gesualdo madrigal and a host of traditional songs from the 16th to 18th centuries. DJ Logic uses LPs from a set called La Tradizione Musicale in Campania and Cappelli uses tapes of traditional music for one piece. The initial tone is set by an interview recorded with Brooklyn barber Lenny Ranaldo and from there it's a wonderful confluence of collision and empathy with traditional materials lovingly disassembled by turntable manipulation, noise and free jazz bluster. The conclusion, with Wieselman on tenor, emphasizes the closeness of a village brass band to the raw joy of Albert Ayler, terrain that's close, too, to Ribot's heart.


Tracks and Personnel

El General

Tracks: Los Cristeros; El General; Besos de Sangre; Maximato; Soviet Mexico; Lagrimas Para Ti; Mala Suerte; Exilio; Recuerdos; Besos de Sangre (piano trio); Exactamente Eso.

Personnel: Rob Burger: Piano, accordion; Greg Cohen: bass; Marc Ribot: electric and acoustic guitar; Kenny Wollesen: Bass Marimba, Vibraphone, Drums.

Italian Doc Remix

Tracks: Model Barbers' Song; Take the G Train; Italian Doc Remix; Trio Interlude #1; Igino's Lullaby; Pastellessa di Brooklyn; Maria's Anthem; Trio Interlude #2; Fronna e' Lime; In morte di Tony Soprano; Santa Allegritta Live Remix: Trio Interlude #3; The Williamsburg Variations.

Personnel: Marco Cappelli: electric and classical prepared guitars; Doug Wieselman: Bb, A and bass clarinets, tenor sax; José Davila: trombone, tuba; Ken Filiano: bass; Jim Pugliese: drums, percussion; Marc Ribot: electric and acoustic steel string guitars; Dj Logic: turntables.


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