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Andrea Centazzo: USA Concerts East

Glenn Astarita By

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In the liners, drummer/percussionist Andrea Centazzo states..'This CD includes both pieces executed by various formations that first appeared on the album 'USA Concerts' which came out on the eve of my first US touring 1978 as well as three previously unavailable tracks'. USA Concerts East represents live dates throughout the US in 1978 as the musicians are paired in duo, trio or sextet settings. What we have here are a bunch of budding improvisers, and future New York City Downtown scene stalwarts such as John Zorn, Davey Williams, the late Tom Cora, and Eugene Chadbourne.

Andrea Centazzo is among an elite group of superb modern free-jazz drummers-percussionists and appears on all these tracks with the aforementioned musicians and others, including Polly Bradfield (violin), Jack Wright (alto sax), Ledonna Smith (stringed instruments, voice) and Toshinori Kondo (Trumpet). So, what we have here are snapshots of a tour from an assemblage of daring and bold musicians who as Centazzo cites in the liners, '....There was a definable new wave sweeping across the East Coast music scene, united by a spirit of radicalism and a desire to seek out new sounds.' Centazzo's insightful words pretty much sum it up. The music performed throughout this recording is considerably raw, adventurous, rebellious and certainly conveys an extremist attitude. Pieces such as 'Obsession One' featuring Centazzo along with Tom Cora's sinewy cello work or 'Duet Improvisation #5 with Centazzo and guitarist Davey Williams are excercises in avant-garde bliss. The first track, 'Sextet Improvisation' featuring Polly Bradfield, Centazzo, Chadbourne, Cora, Kondo and Zorn is quite exhaustive yet boldly 'free' in scope and execution.

USA Concerts East is a relatively captivating project mainly for its somewhat historical value or snapshot of changing times in modern-jazz or free improvisation within the United States. Of course, the British Free Jazz Movement was in full stride during this timeframe; yet alluding to Centazzo's comments, there were new advances and radical ideologies surfacing in American Jazz. USA Concerts East is a worthy reissue from New Tone records and should whet the appetites of serious modern-free-jazz advocates and collectors.


Personnel: Polly Bradfield; Violin: Andrea Centazzo; Percussion: Eugene Chadbourne; Guitars: Tom Cora; Cello: Toshinori Kondo; Trumpet: Ladonna Smith; Violin, Viola, Voice: Davey Williams; Electric Guitars, Banjo: Jack Wright; Alto Sax: John Zorn; Reeds.

Title: USA Concerts East | Year Released: 1999 | Record Label: New Tone


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