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Friday, February 23, 2024

Guiseppe Doronzo - Futuro Ancestrale (Clean Feed, 2024)

By Sammy Stein

Guiseppe Doronzo is one of the most innovative free music musicians currently on the scene. Focussing mostly on his baritone saxophone, Doronzo explores music and creates his distinctive voice, which brings together influences including contemporary classical, jazz improvisation, non-western sounds, and rhythms. He has worked with Michael Moore, Joe Lovano, Chris Potter, Han Bennink, Robin Eubanks, Steve Potts, Benjamin Herman, and Jim Black to name just a few.

Doronzo’s ability to draw international musicians to his music is demonstrated on Futuro Ancestrale (Cleanfeed Jan 2024) where UK guitarist Andy Moor (Ken Vandermark, Paal Nilssen-Love, Thurston Moore) and Puerto Rican drummer Frank Rosaly (Thurston Moore, Fred Lonberg-Holm trio, Jason Adasiewicz) join him. All three have bases in the Netherlands and the live recording was made in Amsterdam. Doronzo lays baritone saxophone and Iranian bagpipes on the album.

To comment that this album is eclectic and features essences from many diverse sources would be an understatement. The journey through this album is intense, variable, and, at times, challenges perceptions. Even given the varied backgrounds and influences of all three musicians, the sounds produced at times seem to come from some new place, where the music voyages into previous unchartered voids places avoided before but Doronzo, unwavering in his determination to explore unchartered areas, launches fearlessly into – with astounding results. From the weird, barely decipherable voiced background line of ‘Digging The Sand’ – a track which incidentally has an appropriate title because it evokes a sense of pulling through something that keeps giving way, changing and shifting as the track develops – to the strange ascensions from the guitar and driving rhythms developed by the baritone saxophone in ‘Hopscotch’, the album challenges, entrances and delights in more or less equal measure.

‘Hopscotch’ deserves more mention because this extended, mesmeric track is an outstanding development of free music, with an intimate connection between the musicians as they listen to each other, connect on an intrinsic level, and create music that extends that communication to the listener, bringing them into the sonic journey.

‘Magma’ features flavours from the Orient and is a noisy, beautifully worked piece, including the ethereal phrases of the Iranian bagpipes, with their lusty keening adding a distinctive voice to the track while ‘ Graduate of Witchcraft ( Bonus track) is a shorter but very sweet interaction between the three musicians in a melodic, rhythmic number which is as entrancing over the short period it plays, as any other track on the album.

The album is impressive (another understatement) and although it is just January, it is going to be difficult for any improvising group to better this. The communication, expertise and musicianship are phenomenal. The rise and fall, the ebbs and flows of this music, give it continuous energy and dynamism which means the listener finds themselves constantly surprised – and there is more revealed with each listen, for example in the final track, there is an intricate back beat carried on in the percussion – and so it goes on, more to discover, more to enjoy and engage with – improvised music at its best.