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Quadro Nuevo: Mocca Flor

Jim Santella By

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Songs of North Africa and the Middle East combine with traditional European anthems to give Quadro Nuevo's fifth album a fine rewarding ambience. Traditional sounds from many different cultures give the group's melting pot album of ancient delights a particular spark, as its sheer variety takes you on a world tour of geographical regions near and far.

Founded in 1996 for an Austrian film score project, the quartet has continued to provide international audiences with the musical stuff of centuries. Tangos and other folk dances allow them to create exotic impressions which draw from each distinctive culture.

The musical instruments employed by Quadro Nuevo include acoustic bass, cajon, bass udu-drum, mandolino napoletano, chimes, udu-drum, ukulele, soprano saxophone, alto clarinet, gusle, psalter, willow rod, C-melody saxophone, bandoneon, bouzouki, clarinet, bass clarinet, tarabuka, children's toy, accordion, vibrandoneon, guitar, and tenor saxophone.

Don't make the mistake of writing off these players as nostalgia collectors and coffee house fixtures, though. Quadro Nuevo surges with a creative intensity that brings each of these world music themes up to date with a fresh aroma and the taste of new spirits. Each of the four artists improvises with swing and the spirit of our jazz ancestors.

"Miserlu" opens the album with vast, wide-open impressions of a desert community where music brings people of all walks of life together for a brief respite. Guitar, bandoneon, and bass clarinet bring this tango into focus while its captivating rhythm invades your soul. Quadro Nuevo takes this one up a few notches with its fiery emotional release that builds and builds to a thrilling, impressionistic Middle Eastern climax.

A blazing-fast interpretation of "Bei Mir Bist Du Scheen" recalls the foot-stomping and high-kicking kind of celebration that pops up in many European communities and has been carried by immigrants all over the world. Here, buoyed by clarinet, accordion, guitar and bass timbres, the ensemble's acoustic attire takes control of your senses. As they accelerate to a dizzying quickstep and later slow to a collective walk, the quartet's creative energy grabs you and won't let go.

"Café Europa" swings with memories of jazz's earlier years to the sounds of C-melody saxophone, guitar, bass and accordion. "Tango Gosselin" unites clarinet with guitar, percussion, and bandoneon for a lovely sashay, while "Fiera Triste" combines mandolin, bass clarinet, bass, and accordion for a timeless trip over Italy's terrain. Mocca Flor closes with "El Sospiro del Moro," which leaves impressions of ancient Moorish adventures along the way. Creative in its musical interpretations and highly adventurous in its implementation, Quadro Nuevo offers a recommended performance that shouldn't be missed.


Track Listing: Miserlu; 'O Sarracino; El Choclo; Sultana; Mocca Swing; Giovanni Tranquillo; Penta; Quiereme; Bei Mir Bist Du Scheen; Jakob Elija; Tango Gosselin; Fiera Triste; Caf

Personnel: Mulo Francel: saxophones, clarinets, mandolin; Robert Wolf: guitar; Andreas Hinterseher: accordion, vibrandoneon, bandoneon; D.D. Lowka: bass, percussion.

Title: Mocca Flor | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Justin Time Records

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CD/LP/Track Review
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