261

New Emily Jazz Orchestra: New Ever Tribute to Romolo Grande

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
New Emily Jazz Orchestra: New Ever Tribute to Romolo Grande Fifty years ago, Italian jazz enthusiast Romolo Grande founded the New Emily Jazz Orchestra. It started out as a collection of rough-and-ready traditionalists, and as they developed, they matured, until they became the capable, slightly off-the-wall post bop crew featured on this recording. New Emily is grounded in hard bop, but these players have a wide reach that overlaps into classical repertoire, Ellington, and Jelly Roll Morton. They approach everything with enthusiasm and expertise, as well as, I suspect, some tongue-in-cheek subversiveness.

New Emily enters the music faced with an aesthetic conundrum, in which these Italians must reconcile the African-American cultural imperatives of jazz with their own very different European backgrounds. Their solution, appropriately, is to bring something of their own to the table. To begin with, the members of the quintet are fine musicians and capable improvisers with roots in an unpretentiously swinging brand of bop. The rhythm section cooks, generating a pleasant if not quite fiery drive. The saxophonists know their instruments and they know their changes, so they improvise capably if not distinctively.

The New Emily Jazz Orchestra gains its distinctiveness from its encyclopediaic approach to repertoire. The group saunters through Bach and Vivaldi, powers through the standards and bop heads, and takes a bumpy excursion through a Miles Davis '80s funk line. The arrangements are mostly by founding member Romolo Grande, who was the Orchestra's banjo player during its early days. But Grande evolved, ultimately playing electric bass in the modernist New Emily group heard here. Through tempo changes, key changes, counter-melodies, and elaborate, sometimes surprising written variations, Grande allowed his band to have a distinctive identity.

Irreverent humor is another aspect of that identity. Drummer Bruno Franchini takes an earnest, pleading vocal turn on "All The Things You Are," and I suspect that while he sang, his tongue was buried deep within his cheek. Overall, a light-hearted attitude suffuses the album, separating the music from generic hard bop and elevating New Emily's sound and approach from generic modernism.


Track Listing: Ursula, Won't You; Cherokee; Vivaldiana; Caravan; Enneagramma; Alternate Seasons; All The Things You Are; A Night In Tunisia;Brandenburg Concerto; C.T.A.; King Porter Stomp; Wee.

Personnel: Mario Parisini: tenor & soprano saxes; Stefano Ponzinibio: alto sax; Paolo Panzani: piano; Marcello Franchini: electric bass; Bruno Franchini: drums, flute, vocals.

Title: New Ever Tribute to Romolo Grande | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Splasc(H) Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read The Company I Keep CD/LP/Track Review The Company I Keep
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Ma De Re Sha CD/LP/Track Review Ma De Re Sha
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Ask Seek Knock CD/LP/Track Review Ask Seek Knock
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Air and Light and Time and Space CD/LP/Track Review Air and Light and Time and Space
by John Eyles
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Eleven Cages CD/LP/Track Review Eleven Cages
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Afro-Caribbean Mixtape CD/LP/Track Review Afro-Caribbean Mixtape
by Mark F. Turner
Published: June 27, 2017
Read "Fugitive Beauté" CD/LP/Track Review Fugitive Beauté
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 11, 2016
Read "La Diversité" CD/LP/Track Review La Diversité
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 31, 2017
Read "The Digging" CD/LP/Track Review The Digging
by Budd Kopman
Published: July 31, 2016
Read "Northern Adventures" CD/LP/Track Review Northern Adventures
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 28, 2017
Read "Inerrant Space" CD/LP/Track Review Inerrant Space
by Mark Sullivan
Published: August 17, 2016
Read "Strunkin'" CD/LP/Track Review Strunkin'
by Jerome Wilson
Published: November 18, 2016

Smart Advertising!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.