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Strings Tradition: Strings Tradition

Read "Strings Tradition" reviewed by Eyal Hareuveni

Binding the ancient but still thriving string tradition of the kora (a 21-string West African harp), the Northern Indian Hindustani tradition of the sitar and the Southern Indian Carnatic tradition of the violin is really a brilliant idea. the debut release of Strings Tradition brings together five versatile and resourceful musicians who, rather than just finding a common musical language, possess a true timbral affinity and intimacy.

New-York-based Malian kora master Mamadou Diabate comes from a ...

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Simone Guiducci Gramelot Ensemble: Storie di Fiume

Read "Storie di Fiume" reviewed by Ian Patterson

On first listening to Storie di fiume(River Tales), Simone Guiducci's Gramelot Ensemble's fourth recording, one wonders whether this is folk music colored by jazz, or jazz music influenced by folk. But like the confluence of two rivers there comes a point where it is impossible to distinguish the two separate entities--the absorption is complete and mutual.

On the opening track, “Uomini di fiume," the accordion of Fausto Beccalossi and the clarinet of Achille Succi blend as one, carrying ...

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Simone Guiducci Gramelot Ensemble: Storie di Fiume

Read "Storie di Fiume" reviewed by Glenn Astarita

Italian acoustic guitarist and composer Simone Guiducci has performed with German bass legend Eberhard Weber and American multi-reedist Chris Speed, among other notables. On Storie di Fiume, the artist's alterable Gramelot Ensemble fuses the sounds of Mediterranean folk music with spiraling improvisational forays.

Guiducci's signature invocation of jazz and Italian melodies is something of a trademark sound. At times peaceable and slightly raucous, the leader commandeers linear progressions with veteran woodwind player Achille Succi, solely performing on clarinets for this ...

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Simone Guiducci Gramelot Ensemble: Dancin' Roots

Read "Dancin' Roots" reviewed by Glenn Astarita

Italian acoustic guitarist Simone Guiducci often employs well-known American jazz musicians for his conspicuously ambitious projects. With this effort, he benefits from clarinetist Don Byron's expertise, along with rising star trumpeter Ralph Alessi and other top-notch instrumentalists. Guiducci's trademark fusion of Mediterranean themes with complex harmonic sojourns once again offers more than just a few rewarding attributes. His muse features a classy brew consisting of complex unison lines, off-meter Latin grooves, and lyrically rich melodies.

Accordionist Fausto Beccalossi's ...

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Simone Guiducci Gramelot Ensemble: Dancin' Roots

Read "Dancin' Roots" reviewed by John Kelman

With consistently compelling releases from labels like EGEA and CAM Jazz, the vibrancy of the Italian jazz scene is becoming more and more recognized by a larger international audience. Increasingly self-evident is that the Italian jazz community encompasses both the broader improvising tradition of American jazz and the intrinsic ethnicity of its own rich musical history. But while much of EGEA's music has a distinctive coastal Mediterranean flavour, and CAM Jazz, by focusing to some extent on the vivid legacy ...

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Simone Guiducci Gramelot Ensemble: Dancin' Roots

Read "Dancin' Roots" reviewed by Paul Olson

Musicians have been combining various musical genres with jazz for decades and the results are often pretty messy. Jazz doesn't mix as well with its musical brethren as one might hope: often its improvisational side is diluted and all that survives the graft is an empty virtuosity. That's why the achievement of Italian acoustic guitarist Simone Guiducci and his Gramelot Ensemble is so stunning; as evidenced by Dancin' Roots , their fusion of jazz with various European and Middle-Eastern folk ...

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Simone Guidicci: Chorale

Read "Chorale" reviewed by Elliott Simon

Acoustic guitarist Simone Guiducci and his Gramelot Ensemble have defined a new musical language that combines indigenous Northern Italian folk music with modern jazz. Inspired by the invented “gramelot" language of 15th century troubadours, 16th century Monteverdian fundamental discords and the modern gramelot of playwright Dario Fo, the Ensemble's latest release, Chorale, exposes a quintet that is in search of a broader musical patois but at the same time is comfortable with its roots. Like the previous ...

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Simone Guiducci Gramelot Ensemble: Chorale

Read "Chorale" reviewed by Glenn Astarita

Not only is Italian acoustic guitarist Simone Guiducci a strong soloist, but he's very adept when infusing jazz talents such as Chris Speed (clarinet), Erik Friedlander (cello), and Ralph Alessi (trumpet) into his master game plan. And of course, Guiducci leads a fine sextet consisting of a clarinet/accordion based attack atop a powerful rhythm section.

Guiducci's radiant compositional fortitude features a potpourri of regally pronounced statements and Mediterranean themes, garnished with the soloists? feisty improvisations. The band incorporates ...

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Mauro Avanzini/Claudio Capurro/Claudio Lugo/Cristina Alioto: La Volta Del Suono

Read "La Volta Del Suono" reviewed by Michael A. Parker

This is a must-hear for anyone interested in otherworldly acoustic phenomena due to architecture. Three saxophonists and a female vocalist performed this continuous improvisation in a “famous historical palace” in Genoa, Italy. The 44 minutes fly right by with the range of surprising acoustic effects that pop out at every turn. Each time I listen to it I experience a new interpretation of foreground-background relationships between the instruments, especially during the first few minutes when there is a greater emphasis ...

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ZU + Eugene Chadbourne: Motorhellington

Read "Motorhellington" reviewed by Glenn Astarita

On this new release we are once again treated to the collaboration of American guitarist, humorist and steadfast improviser, Eugene Chadbourne with the dynamic hard hitting Italian modern jazz quartet known as “Zu”. For their second effort, wittily titled Motorhellington, this quintet now sees good reason to parody leather clad heavy metal warriors; “Black Sabbath” and “Motorhead” along with pieces by Jobim, Mingus and others. Essentially, “ZU” pursues somewhat of an unlikely track mix, as the liners indicate that the ...

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Mauro Avanzini, Claudio Capurro, Claudio Lugo, Crista Alioto: La Volta Del Suono

Read "La Volta Del Suono" reviewed by Glenn Astarita

Here, three saxophonists and a vocalist perform live in the rooms of the Sottoporticato of the Ducal Palace in Genoa, Italy, which is touted to be an “an enormous airpsace”. - Judging by the color photo included within the CD insert, these rooms feature arched ceilings and multiple columns amid Italian architectural craftsmanship as the band investigates reverberate sounds and au natural effects along with the harmonious blending of peppery modern jazz style dialogue. Throughout, the listener will be treated ...

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Simone Guiducci Gramelot Ensemble: Cantador

Read "Cantador" reviewed by Glenn Astarita

The “Simone Guiducci Gramelot Ensemble” intermingle Italian folk-ish themes with generous doses of improvisation, modern jazz structures and well-orchestrated small group arrangements on this charming and thoroughly enjoyable effort titled, Cantador.

Led by guitarist/composer Simone Guiducci, the musicians pursue catchy melodies and gleefully romantic Italian style themes to coincide with harmonious interplay and sharp soloing. Guiducci is an ex-student of the legendary Mick Goodrick, which must have paid huge dividends given his fleet-fingered, sonorous lines and extraordinary capabilities as an ...