Saturday, August 5, 2017

Less Of Five – Chapter Two (Caligola Records, 2017)

Do you remember that era during the 1960s when Blue Note Records was putting on the market albums of musicians such as Sam Rivers and Bobby Hutcherson? It was a 'third wave' between classical jazz and free improvisation. Now, thanks to Caligola Record, we can breath not the same music, but the same temperatures.

Pianist Giorgio Occhipinti, born in 1969, boasts collaborations with the likes of Evan Parker, Joelle Léandre, Ernst Reijseger, Paul Rutherford, Barre Phillips, and Peter Brotzmann. He started playing piano and flute with his father's band. Occhipinti was part of one of the hystorical groups of Sicilian jazz, the December Thirty Jazz Trio (1989) and since 1992 he collaborated with the Pino Minafra Sud Ensemble.

In 1993 Occhipinti created the Festival Ibleo del Jazz becoming its artistic director. In the same year he foundet a nonet (Giorgio Occhipinti Hereo Nonetto) that took many forms in the following years: octet, orchestra, and so on. In 2000 he took part in the Banlieue Bleues Quartet with Pino Minafra, Sandro Satta and Vincenzo Mazzone.

Giorgio Occhipinti
The musician that seems to me more similar to Giorgio Occhipinti is Matthew Shipp. Not for his open, ascendent chords (Occhipinti is less mysthic an more gentle), but because of a quality in improvisation and interplay. Luckily enough his new record, 'Chapter Two' by the group Less of Five (featuring Gianpiero Fronte on alto and soprano saxophone, Giuseppe Guarrella on double bass, and Emmanuele Primavera on drums) provides us with two long compositions, 'Orange's Smell' and 'Breathing New York's air' that are more than ten minutes long, leaving us with a flavour that is connected to free improvisation, even if the music is softer.

The other six pieces, from 3 to 6 minutes long, are miniatures of melody and improvisation. The effect in listening to this record is that of a music that doesn't want to be caged in a precise definition, a music that loves to take you by the hand and wonder into new landscapes, even if quite often the flavour of blues is strong, as in the track 'Expression' . Highly recommended to all the lovers of free improvisation, but not only.  

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