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Album Review

Vinny Golia / Bernard Santacruz / Cristiano Calcagnile: To Live and Breathe…


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Vinny Golia / Bernard Santacruz / Cristiano Calcagnile: To Live and Breathe…
None of the three musicians heard on To Live and Breathe... had ever performed together before this set of live music recorded in Piacenza, Italy, on Sunday, February 5, 2017. Would they gel? Could they come together in the land of free improvised music? The most recognizable name here is American multi—instrumentalist Vinny Golia with a discography well in excess of 200 recordings. Golia is joined by French bassist Bernard Santacruz, who can be heard on Nothing But Love (The Music Of Frank Lowe) (Mahakala Music, 2020), and also with the likes of Daunik Lazro, Nicole Mitchell, and Tomeka Reid, and drummer Cristiano Calcagnile whose recent releases include Excantations (Setola Di Maiale, 2021) by the NoNoNo Percussion Ensemble with Gino Robair and Stefano Giust, plus several discs with various Pipeline ensembles released by We Insist! Records.

The live recording is actually in two parts, one lengthy continuous improvisation divided into four sections with Golia on soprano saxophone and a shorter encore where he hoists a piccolo flute. As the music progresses we can hear the trio's sound crystallize. Opening with "An Introduction To Bonsai Basics," the three find common ground with their leap into energy music. Each player flexes their individual muscles, Golia spins some circular breathing, Santacruz pulls thunderous notes, and Calcagnile whirlwinds a meteoric pulse on cymbals and his drum kit. As the opener segues into "Thoughts Within The Vineyard" Santacruz's bass steps to the front with a dazzling solo, which navigates the trio into a meditative mode. Golia's saxophone takes on an Eastern vibe and Calcagnile extracts sound from scraped cymbals and tiny percussion gestures.

The trio flows again into the aptly titled "Drumstart." Calcagnile's drumming ignites Golia's circular patterned sound as the energy intensifies, leaving no doubts this is an excellent working trio. They then shift into "Visit To The Mountains," the most "composed" of their free improvisation, or shall we say their most compelling statement as a trio. The encore, with Golia switching to piccolo, comes at the ears like a demon's exorcism with vocalized notes blown against crashing percussion and thunderous bass. By their applause, the audience answers in the affirmative, this group has triumphed.

Track Listing

An Introduction To Bonsai Basics; Thoughts Within The Vineyard; Drumstart; Visit To The Mountains; Evanesce.


Vinny Golia: woodwinds; Bernard Santacruz: bass; Cristiano Calcagnile: drums.

Album information

Title: To Live and Breathe… | Year Released: 2022 | Record Label: Dark Tree Records

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