Jazzitalia - Roberto Favilla jr: Oi Dialogoi
versione italiana english version
Bookmark and Share Jazzitalia Facebook Page Jazzitalia Twitter Page Feed RSS by Jazzitalia - Press News Feed RSS by Jazzitalia - Last Updates

Fai click qui per leggere la versione in italiano

Cover: Sabrina Sparti
Produced by Roberto Favilla jr
for Splasc(H) Records
Roberto Favilla jr
Oi Dialogoi

1. Wait A Minute (Tracanna-Favilla) 6:41
2. Logos (Tononi-Favilla) 4:55
3. Alter Ego (Falzone-Favilla) 4.48
4. Psicocanto (Sparti-Favilla) 3.37
5. Unusual Mind (Romano-Favilla) 4.27
6. Lasciami Andare (Dalla Porta-Favilla) 5.19
7. Un Altro Orizzonte (Martini-Favilla) 4.18
8. Et Esse Rà (Turati-Favilla) 3.21
9. Up ’n’ Right (Clemente-Favilla) 6.16
10. Traccia (Fragiacomo-Favilla) 2.40
11. Simple Games (Faiella-Favilla) 5.07
12. Shangri-La (Nicita-Favilla) 5.45

All compositions are published by Senz’h Edizioni Musicali - SIAE.
Recorded on 30 June, 30 July, 5 September, 19 October, 11 and 23 November,
3, 17 and 21 December 2003 in MU REC Studio, Milan.

Roberto Favilla Jr - piano
Sabrina Sparti - vocals
Carlo Nicita - flute
Fabio Martini - clarinet
Tino Tracanna - soprano sax
Furio Romano - alto sax
Felice Clemente - tenor sax
Giovanni Falzone - trumpet
Mario Fragiacomo - fluegelhorn
Dario Faiella - electric guitar
Omar Turati - classical guitar
Paolino Dalla Porta - double
Tiziano Tononi - drums

Alone with a ‘cello, following the rhythms and melodies of a sarabanda or a gavotte, just as Johann Sebastian Bach indicated for his six ‘cello suites; or in the magnificently expressive great sound of Mahler, shadowing the Titans: classical European music has generated masterpieces both for the restricted dimension of the solo and for the immensely sweeping scope of the largest of symphony orchestras.
Jazz has also demonstrated the ability to get its message across in more ways than one, entrusting its performance both to the Cyclopean voice of Stan Kenton's orchestra and to the unaccompanied notes of Coleman Hawkins' sax, which argued the case of harmonies in the song Prisoners of Love with never a second voice to be heard.

But what goes by the name of "syncopated music" contains one line-up that has caused more than the occasional headache for jazzmen: the duo.J oseph "King" Oliver's cornet was heart-warming for the pride of the tale it told from the midst of a New Orleans band's polyphony, while Jelly Roll Morton's unaccompanied ivory keys had a comparable ability to move you to tears when listening to that Creole's questioning interpretation of nineteenth century New Orleans or the past of Cuban music, but the magic simply fell flat on its face when the two tried to get together in the recording studio. It was not until the 1928 meeting between two musical giants – Louis Armstrong and Earl Hines – with Weather Bird that we find the first successful duet in the history of jazz. Maybe a trio, a combo or an orchestra gives the figure of the leader a better guarantee of an artistically satisfying result, making it easier for him to mark out a more or less clearly defined path for the other musicians to follow. Similarly, a solo performance must by definition lead to a clear objective. But when two jazzmen find themselves playing face to face, the idea of one being the leader and the other one following simply vanishes into thin air: what you have is two potential leaders, each one of equal status, each one familiar with different ways for forging ahead through the wilderness. One thing is for sure: on those occasions when this delicate alchemy has functioned, what it has left on record for posterity still leaves us speechless today: how can you avoid a moment's sheer surprise when you listen to Armstrong and Hines, Lang and Venuti, Ellington and Blanton, Konitz and Bauer, Coltrane and Ali, Braxton and Roach?

Roberto Favilla fits neatly into this tradition with the awareness that a project's success is largely determined by one decision: how do you choose the accomplice to play with, to risk everything with? The answer is extreme in this case: the album wends its way through twelve dialogues, each one featuring a different duet; that means twelve different instrumentalists, each time with Favilla on piano as the common denominator. The result is an iridescent sound palette in which the tones of the piano combine with the timbre of a trumpet one minute, the whistle of the flute the next, then pass on to counterpoint with a percussion set, followed by one with a clarinet, then wrap themselves in the sound of a guitar (there is an electric one here and also a classical), meet up with a double bass and blend with the voice of a soprano.
The accomplices Favilla has chosen here are all musicians with whom he had already worked in a copious series of projects in the areas both of jazz and of contemporary music, both of electronic music and of the Central European tradition. Some of them are tried and tested artists, others are young talents; but what really counted for Favilla was that they are all trustworthy musicians with whom he could safely make the second radical decision implied by this project: all the music was to be completely improvised, with not a trace of sheet music to be found anywhere on the business side of the recording studio's threshold. And that is what makes this Oi Dialogoi sound like a real flow of consciousness, as each of the musicians draws on his or her musical past (whether that past has its roots in jazz, in avant-garde music or in folk traditions) and transforms it, here and now, making it measure up to the extemporaneous hints that flow from the piano. Sometimes, centre stage is dominated by the whiff of jazz, as in Unusual Mind (with Furio Romano), where the sax speaks its balance between Parker and Coleman and the piano pronounces 6/9 chords a bit like a big band background, or in Up 'n' Right, which Felice Clemente conveys to the period of jazz he loves the most (the fifties). On other occasions, it is the early twentieth century whose mastery shines through, as in the dialogue with a classical guitar that materialises the hazy atmospheres of French Impressionism and the duet with the clarinet, one of the album's most aphoristic conversations. Or traditions may blend, confusing latitude and longitude, as Ellington's harmonies cohabit in Shangri-La with Varese's melodies and the melo-rhythmic gestures of the tango. In another variation, the piece may start and end with unsettling asymmetric grooves that hint at modern jazz but, as though by magic, plunge into nineteenth century Romanticism in the middle, echoing Chopin's ballads (Certi paragoni). So it should come as no surprise if the blues also work their way in between the interstices of a melancholic theme of Central European inspiration (Traccia) or the harmonies of a jazz ballad fall back on the paroxysm of an adolescent dance (Lasciami andare).

It is this crammed yet concerted melange of sounds that makes Oi Dialogoi a stimulating, unpredictable – but above all sincere – album. Not that it could have worked out any other way! It is the simple, unadorned, faithful and unadulterated recording of twelve dialogues (as the Greek title says). And yet this perspective makes us listeners almost impertinent "voyeurs of the ear", intent on eavesdropping on the reciprocal confessions of a group of artists who murmur to each other about their musical likes and dislikes, their past and their future. And maybe that is how things really are.
Or maybe these are not so much twelve dialogues as twelve stories, twelve tales made up by the musicians especially for us, as we are so keen on hearing them.Even so, if we were to make our way through the wilderness of sounds on Oi Dialogoi with awareness (and armed with passion and curiosity), as luck would have it we might just discover that those twelve tales have neither narrators, nor listeners. Because we ourselves are all part of the cast.
Luca Bragalini (liner notes)

Related articles:

Oi Dialogoi (Roberto Favilla jr)

Insert an opinion

This page has 894 hits
Last Modified Date: 11/02/2008

Bookmark and Share

Home |  Articles |  Press News |  Reviews |  Events |  Lessons |  Gallery
Artists |  Newsletter |  Forum |  Search |  Links |  Cont@cts