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Saturday, March 23, 2024

Giuseppe Doronzo - Futuro Ancestrale & AVA Trio

By Guido Montegrandi

Giuseppe Doronzo - Italian saxophone player, composer and educator based in Amsterdam - is one of the most interesting voices in the European free music scene. His last two records mark a further step into his creative development that mixes free improvisation and ancient musical cultures. He also has a talent for choosing the people he plays with. Both the AVA Trio (which is one of his long standing project) and the trio of Doronzo, Moor, Rosaly exhibit a remarkable level of interplay and musical taste.

Giuseppe Doronzo, Andy Moor, Frank Rosaly - Futuro Ancestrale (Clean Feed, 2024)

Futuro Ancestrale documents the debut performance of the trio composed by Giuseppe Doronzo (baritone sax and Iranian bagpipe) Andy Mooor (electric guitar) and Franc Rosaly (drums and percussion) at the Amsterdam’s Bimhuis in June 22.

Somehow developing the concept of music from an imaginary land that Doronzo conceived with his AVA Trio in 2017, the music in this album explores sounds, infiltrate contemporary takes and echoes of ancient musical cultures developing an explicitly non linear storytelling made of noises, broken rhythms drones and melodies.

Futuro Ancestrale (ancestral future) tells of futures coming from or going to the past –which direction? Your ears, your choice or maybe you don’t have to choose, that’s the beauty of oxymoron.

An direct reference to a non linear approach is given by the track Hopscotch whose title mirrors the English translation of Cortazar 1963 stream of consciousness novel Rayuela. This piece of music is made of erratic segments that combine in a continuous flux of exchanging parts between the musicians - Moor scraping guitar and Rosaly broken drumming are crowded by Doronzo quasi melodic figures and then the other way round.

In Magma, Doronzo leaves the baritone for the Iranian bagpipe creating an exotic sound tapestry on which Moor and Rosaly display their patterns until in the finale the bagpipe is left alone on sparse percussions.

The final piece, Digging the Sand, is a re-imagination of a piece of the AVA trio here taken to its outer limits by the slow and imaginative beat and the meandering sax and guitar.

The music that this meeting has produced has an imaginative quality that develops in the space that each musician creates for the others to play in alternating bursting moments to sparse sound and noise sections and you can even encounter melodies! I really would have loved to be there that night.

But if like me, you weren’t there, you can buy and download it from bandcamp.

You can also read another point of view on the album, see Sammy Stein's review here

AVA Trio – The Great Green (Tora Records – 2024)

AVA Trio is:

Giuseppe Doronzo - baritone saxophone, ney anbān, longar double flute
Esat Ekincioglu - double bass
Pino Basile - frame drums, tamburello, percussion

Words and colours and sounds.

Ancient Greeks did not have a specific term to indicate the colour blue - more specifically the colour of the sea, and the story told in the booklet accompanying AVA Trio's The Great Green focuses on this twilight zone of language telling of a fisherman’s quest for the name of the colour of the Great Green just to discover in the end that “The Great Green is not green after all. The Great Green reveals his true colours with every rolling wave, million of different hues yet to be named”.

And this quest takes us into a journey of sounds and melodies and rhythms that move and meander offering to the listeners unexpected glimpses of musical brilliance.

An upright solo opens Didima just to be carried away by the encircling sound of Basile frame drums doubled by a distant and melodic baritone melody that slowly gains the center stage.

Basile performance is outstanding, it’s the real backbone of the entire work, while Doronzo and Ekincioglu dig deep into a music that often evokes eastern-like scales and melodies, Basile’s percussions create the environment and the horizon of the journey. The result is almost 40 minutes of stimulating music that carries on a sonic research through and around the Mediterranean Sea, evoking sounds and melodies that could have existed. From Music from an Imaginary Land (2017) to Digging the Sand (2019), Ash (2023) and now The Great Green, the AVA Trio continues its musical archaeology extracting sounds from ancestral memories and introducing them into future. The use of traditional reeds in some of the pieces (Tsamikos and Didima) emphasizes the ethnic roots of this music but, just like in the case of the percussion set used by Pino Basile, these sounds are perfectly integrated in a sonic search that is well rooted in contemporaneity.

A meaningful record.

You can buy and download it on bandcamp.