Jazzitalia - Review - City Nights: City Nights
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            BIANCHINI Filippo (sax)
            CARACCIOLO Stan (banjo)
            CUSA Francesco (drums)
            DEGANI Enrico (guitar)
            DI GENNARO Luigi (piano)
            DI LIBERTO Alessandro (piano)
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            MECENERO Maurizio (guitar)
            MENZELLA Gianfranco (sax)
            PIOVESAN Sebastian (bass)
            RIZZO Maria Fausta (violin)
            SORGE Paolo (guitar)
            TONONI Guido (songwriter)
            VELLA Tony (piano)
            VESPO Tommaso (piano)
            VITOLO Lorenzo (piano)

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City Nights
City Nights

Reach Up Music (2014)

1. Engine Song
2. West Coast
3. Later
4. Rakt Fram
5. Skinny Deep
6. Jockgrim
7. Onsen
8. Colors
9. Told You So

Nils Janson - trumpet, keyboards
Andreas Hourdakis - electric guitar
Martin Höper - electric bass
Chris Montgomery - drums

A very solid, powerful and conscious debut by City Nights, Swedish band composed by some of the best and most requested Swedish jazz musicians from the younger generation. Andreas Hourdakis, to begin with, guitarist of Magnus Öström (Esbjörn Svensson Trio), Nils Jansson, the most interesting trumpet player of his generation, the great groover Martin Höper on bass, and Chris Montgomery on drums, with his rich and versatile punctuation.

The album touches and immediately goes beyond jazz rock, almost creating a new style, if one had to give a genre definition. Freedom from jazz and rock becomes the most distant point from both poles, making the fusion free from usual schemes. There are elements of rock, indierock, jazz and progressive, often used in an innovative and unprecedented, unexpected way. And the fantastic interplay resulting from the fusion of instruments and inspiration is really the alchemy that makes each piece interesting and easy to remember.

An album that is difficult to forget as it bears a very recognizable sound, not only for the skill and virtuosity full of character of each musician, but for consistency and maturity of inspiration.
The first track, Engine Song, is the album's most rockish, perhaps the cleanest as far as roles are concerned, with Hourdakis expressing himself rather "classically" and the jazziest part entrusted to Janson, who pulls out a very whistleable tune. We come down to a deeper level with West Coast, where the sounds get closer to compatriots Oddjob's and glide towards 70s' jazz-fusion. Proximity to Oddjob also for the third song, Later, where the guitar is more strongly progressive. Even though maintaining a uniform style, the tonality often changes, moving on new rhythms, with the trumpet becoming ethereal towards the end, intertwined with a beautiful crescendo of drums and guitar, before the last change of direction.
Rakt fram is characterized by a riveting and relentless bass, and a wonderful trumpet line, perfectly rough and dirty at times. The fifth track is Skinny Deep, where a playful interplay prevails at the beginning, until Hourdakis guitar takes its most recognizable tones, and then leaving room for Janson's seventies tones, with a magnificent drum finale. Jockgrim has one of the easiest and most catchy melodies, with a deliciously funky rhythm and only the trumpet to introduce a jazzy dissonance, until the second part is dominated by the endearing interplay between the guitar and Montgomery's bass.

In Onsen Höper does wonders with his syncopated drums as the trumpet chirps by, while in Colors sounds date very much back to the nineties rock, with the trumpet singing as female vocals, leaning even Janson's own.keyboards. And then the grand finale with Told You So, starting slowly, like a goodnight song, until it takes a nostalgic tone: it almost feels like the music was created for the end of a show, where each actor enters the stage to thank and greet before leaving the stage, with the ethereal trumpet solo that lasts until Hourdakis' very ample prog-pinkfloydian solo, with keyboards and trumpet signing the end.

How was this project born? What was your intention to convey?
City Nights was formed when we (members of the band) where out drinking one night in Stockholm. We all agreed on that we should start a fusion band. Soon after that we got together and started rehearsing. Each member brought a couple of songs to play and quite quickly we had enough material to record an album.

Do you have other projects in store?
We are currently writing material for our next album and we are very excited they way it's turning out musically already. Hopefully we'll get in the studio during fall and release it spring next year.

Did the mixture of genres make the communication of this album difficult somehow?
Not really. The songs on the album are kind of written in a way that made us not hesitate on how we wanted to play them. As far as communication goes on the record: it's just rock n roll with an uneven beat.

Monica Mazzitelli for Jazzitalia

Related articles:

Magnus Öström Live in Istanbul, Liquid Boiling Energy: "A completely sold out concert in a city where jazz really beats like few other places in Europe and the world. A musical scene to pay close attention to, and one that pays close attention to what is going on." (Monica Mazzitelli)


Magnus Öström's new album "Searching for Jupiter", a beauty that lingers after Esbjörn Svensson Trio (Monica Mazzitelli)

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Publishing Date: 24/08/2014

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