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Vincenzo Mazzone: Ping Pong

Robert Spencer By

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Genesi 2, which comprises the first ten tracks of this disc, is a "Composition for 9 percussionists," performed by the "Sud Percussion Group."

That's right: nine percussionists. No horns, no piano. No bass!

Think that can't be exciting? Think that all-percussion music can't be varied enough to sustain a disc? Think again. There is enough dynamic variation and gathering and release of tension in the first track alone, "La nascita dell'universo," to dispel that particular misconception. Think a percussion group can't have melodic quality or architectonic power? Think again.

This ten part suite contains brief sections dedicated to each of the planets, each a self-contained unit with its own integrity with a universe of moods and gestures contained therein.

Then enter Pino Minafra's "Sud Ensemble" for the 14-minute title track. This is a rapidly shifting piece anchored by Stravinskyan pianist Giorgio Occhipinti and drummer Mazzone. It remains darkly melodic throughout, and returns to some rapid-fire unison sections. The group consists of some of the strongest instrumentalists on the scene today in Italy, where jazz in all its forms may be more vibrant than it is here. Pino Minafra is a wildly exciting trumpeter with a beautifully sharp tone and a wonderful melodic imagination; Daniele Patumi is a premier bassist, and the marvelous multiphonic reedman Carlo Actis Dato (bass clarinet, saxophones) and Lauro Rossi (trombone) make their mark as well.

The disc concludes with a series of solos by Mazzone. Fine work here too. Bravo!


Title: Ping Pong | Year Released: 1999 | Record Label: Leo Lab


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Ping Pong
Leo Lab
1999
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