“Live at Teatro Metastasio” (DVD) - Futura Jazz Orchestra (Relampago F-0018)

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1) Colour of The Night (Duccio Bertini) 11:22
solo: Simone Graziano (piano)
2) Difuminado (Duccio Bertini) 06:17
solo: Claudio Giovagnoli (tenor sax)
3) A Gentle Touch (Duccio Bertini) 08:06
solo: Manolo Nardi (flugelhorn)
4) A Letter to You (Duccio Bertini) 08:19
solo: Dario Cecchini (baritone sax)
5) Caravan (Tizol, arr. Duccio Bertini) 08:46
solos: Tony Cattano (trombone), Dario Cecchini (baritone sax)

Futura Jazz Orchestra
Conductor, compositions and arrangements: Duccio Bertini
 
Reeds: Piero Bronzi (alto sax, flute), Fabrizio Desideri (alto sax, clarinet), Claudio Giovagnoli (tenor sax, soprano sax, flute), Aldo Milani (tenor sax, clarinet, flute), Dario Cecchini (baritone sax, bass clarinet, alto flute)
Trumpets, Flugelhorns: Maurizio Pasqui, Manolo Nardi, Nicola Cellai, Giansilvio Lanfri
Trombones: Tony Cattano, Andrea Angeloni
Bass Trombone: Sergio Bertellotti
Bass: Raffaello Pareti
Piano: Simone Graziano
Drums: Andrea Melani

Camera Operators: Tommaso Tancredi, Lapo Bertini, Lapo Ristori
Montage Editor: Tommaso Tancredi

Live recording  - Teatro Metastasio (Prato) October 23th 2010

F.J.O. : STYLE AND FLEXIBILITY OF SOUND


The basic idea – the poetics that guide Duccio Bertini’s Futura Jazz Orchestra – draws inspiration from the cycle of destruction-creation which, since the 1950s, has contributed to keeping the future alive for jazz big bands that had lost their drive with the coming of bebop. Both Gil Evans and George Russell dismantled the idea of the big band; they banished the rituality of the call and response format and enriched the individual-collective dialectics and the range of colorations acting on different repertoires (pop, rock etc) and the extension of instruments (electronic, synthesisers etc.). The arrangement goes beyond the formal boundaries of organising the various parts and becomes a polyphonic orchestration. Conducting is more an expression of emotions than something based on codes. If the expressive abstractness of the Sun Ra formations is added to all this there emerges an extraordinarily fertile terrain for breeding vitality and future development

These are the traits of a true European jazz orchestra in which excess and noise give way to a weave in which style, control of the dynamics, silences and sound masses that Bertini produces with extraordinary maturity open up new perspectives.

These are the premises on which the Futura Jazz Orchestra is built, courageously conducted and driven by Duccio Bertini towards a European type of sonority in, for example, the balance between the whole, the solo parts and the improvisations. Among his inspirational patterns, Bertini cites the “ECM” sound as well as the lyricism of Kenny Wheeler. The label’s production philosophy which has stood out for a new “sound ecology” since the 1960s in reality gives Bertini the aesthetic scope for cultivating an expressive elegance in both composing and developing the arrangements. But F.J.O. cannot and does not wish to risk rupturing its umbilical cord with the history of the Afro-American music where its origins lie. This is why solos and improvisations develop without mannerisms in a freedom of sound, expression and rhythm, far from the colourful assertiveness of the traditional big band, confirming them as indispensable parts of the language of jazz.

But the surprise that comes from listening to the orchestra is stirred by its unique skill in maintaining a sense of the whole, a compactness of style, a unity of original sonority that is not lacking in contrast, which is sometimes aggressive but always within the same chromatic space. Just as the great flexibility of the ensemble is seen in how it adapts to the sudden changes of register and setting, and in the tight rein that is kept on the pianos and pianissimos where the individualisms and colours of the individual sections still remain. Blends and fits unfold in a creative process that becomes stronger as the orchestra proceeds as though assembling a jigsaw puzzle in which each piece needs its neighbour to play its function and possess a sense of belonging to a composite whole. These are the traits of a true European jazz orchestra in which excess and noise give way to a weave in which style, control of the dynamics, silences and sound masses that Bertini produces with extraordinary maturity open up new perspectives. Although complex, the architecture devised for his Futura Jazz Orchestra possesses that lightness in performance that can be seen in the recent thrilling performances of the orchestras conducted by Maria Schneider, with scores that represent the wealth of an authentic workshop of creative research and the chance for a collective development of ideas and risks.

Paolo Carradori