"Introducing FJO" - Futura Jazz Orchestra (Relampago F-0019)

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1. Colour of the Night (D. Bertini) 11.24 
2. The Angel (D. Bertini) 9.40

Futura Jazz Orchestra
Conductor, compositions and arrangements: Duccio Bertini
Reeds: Piero Bronzi (alto sax, soprano sax, flute), Fabrizio Desideri (alto sax, soprano sax, clarinet), Marco Ferri (tenor sax, clarinet),
Stefano Negri (tenor sax, soprano sax, clarinet, flute), Romano Pratesi (baritone sax, tenor sax, bass clarinet)
Trombones: Alberto Oliva, Andrea Rinaldi
Bass Trombone: Sergio Bertellotti
Trumpets, Flugelhorns: Maurizio Pasqui, Mirco Rubegni, Alessandro Drovandi, Luca Magrini
Bass: Filippo Pedol
Piano: Simone Graziano
Drums, percussions: Massimo Alioto
Vibraphone: Ian Da Preda
All arrangements are by Duccio Bertini
 
Recorded 6/11/2007, 3-5 February 2008 at Sam Studio (Lari, Pisa) and Mallettman Studio (San Donato, Florence) 
Engineered by Mirco Mencacci, Andrea Ciacchini, Ian Da Preda
Mastered by Ian Da Preda

"Futura Jazz Orchestra: Fragments of Colour"


In Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 1986 composition The Music of The Night there is an inspired melody that soars upwards over two octaves in an orchestration reminiscent of Puccini.And then there is a reflection on that Broadway theme that is so profound that to call it a mere arrangement would be to do it an injustice; the composition that Duccio Bertini wrote for his Futura Jazz Orchestra is nothing less than a (re)composition.

A very refined score which yet again hinges on timbre; a very rich palette that Bertini knows how to draw from, sometimes tracing sparkling, highly virtuoso orchestral tuttis (such as the central special) sometimes outlining an enchanting unison for flute and soprano sax just as it resonates through the first rendering of the theme. And the musicians in his orchestra are ever sensitive and able to do justice to each passage

The second theme of Webber’s melody has been removed (as was the coda in minor), the harmony was written from scratch and the form is absolutely original.All Bertini needed were the first two intervals of the theme, in particular the “loving” leap of a descending major sixth and the stepwise motion of bars 5-6 and nothing more from Webber’s composition. The score is an amazing development of those two germinal ideas.After an elegant piano introduction, the orchestra develops these theme fragments which in Bertini’s aesthetics are still fragments of colour because the importance given to the orchestral hues is something that echoes in every aspect of the score. The evocative timbre of the scores played by the Futura Jazz Orchestra is not merely the result of a unique combination of instruments made possible by the multi-instrumentalism of the reed section which alternates sax (from soprano to baritone) with bass clarinet and clarinet, and bass flute and flute.

The quest for new colours is also seen in the choice of voicing – that Bbmaj7 that underpins the first interval of the theme is deployed very skilfully by someone who has a certain specific sound very clearly in mind. And therefore also the harmonic connections which, free from the constraining rules of functional harmony (the dominant chord is practically absent), are nothing else than combinations of colour. Hues selected with great discrimination (in which the major 7 chord is often Lydian and the minor often Aeolian) are the backdrop for a melody so free from constraint that it needs to be written heterometrically.The form, too, is able to evoke colour; the mid-section trio anchored to a minimal progression of four repeated chords (that Webber’s score does not have) is a water-colour in marked contrast both with the lively, oil colours of the preceding orchestral tutti and also with the progressive entrance of the instruments which overshadows the pastel crescendo.The Angel rekindles the distinctive traits of this score. Here, the trend towards melodic minimalism takes the form of the theme with variations – eight bars of theme clad with timbres that continually shimmer; the guiding light here is Gil Evans (La Nevada is a sublime example of theme with variations) but the melodic character so authentically pastoral, is typical of Bertini’s work. A very refined score which yet again hinges on timbre; a very rich palette that Bertini knows how to draw from, sometimes tracing sparkling, highly virtuoso orchestral tuttis (such as the central special) sometimes outlining an enchanting unison for flute and soprano sax just as it resonates through the first rendering of the theme. And the musicians in his orchestra are ever sensitive and able to do justice to each passage.. The Futura Jazz Orchestra makes no effort to hide its debt to maestros of the pen (from Ellington to Schneider by way of Gil Evans) but just the same its own path is so unique that it would be a pity if these, so equally unique sounds, these equally unusual colours were not consigned to a disc

Luca Bragalini

...Bertini knows what he wants. Cool sound spaces crossed by an implied and pulsating swing. An original collective sound scattered with contrasts between one section and another. An elegant and refined writing outlining sometimes risky dynamics and joints, away from the call-and-response logic of orchestral jazz...
Paolo Carradori (Il Giornale della Musica)