DINO PLASMATI & LJP BIG BAND – MATERA ENCOUNTERS (AlfaMusic AFMCD207)
“Matera encounters” (Alfa Music 2018) is the title of the cd that the LJP Big Band, directed by the jazz guitarist Dino Plasmati and the American saxophonist Bobby Watson, a true icon of modern jazz, recorded in Matera. The Lucanian big band and the American saxophonist, already alongside Art Blakey in the Jazz Messengers and stars such as W. Marsalis, M. Roach, J.Williams, D. Reeves, B. Carter, share a project to rediscover the repertoires of great American orchestras of the 50s, 60s, 70s. The result is a sparkling, joyful music, always in motion, capable of enhancing the brilliant spirit of the formation; the jazz tradition revisited through a less usual gaze.
“Working with the LJP Big Band was an unforgettable experience. A very prepared orchestra, with excellent soloists and a solid rhythm session … all led by the expert hands of its leader and appreciated guitarist Dino Plasmati, musician to whom I am tied by a deep friendship It was a pleasure for me to write the arrangement of “Over The Rainbow", which the orchestra dealt with in an excellent way, obviously without forgetting the absolutely masterful interpretation of the great Bobby Watson !! " Duccio Bertini
1. Doin’ Basie’s Thing
2. Big Mama Cass
3. Groovin’ Hard
4. Basically Blues
5. Over the Rainbow
7. Admiral’s Horn
9. Soul Kitchen
Bobby Watson (alto sax)
Dino Plasmati (guitar, conductor)
LJP Big Band
Michele Munno, Claudio Chiarelli, Angelo Manicone, Tommaso Capitolo, Vincenzo Appella (saxophones), Luciano Palmitessa, Marco Sinno, Nicola Di Marzio, Emanuele Lamacchia (trumpets), Franco Angiulo, Raffaele Amato, Vincenzo Pace (trombones), Nino Bisceglie (bass trombone), Nico Marziliano (piano), Francesco Fossanova (bass), Vito Plasmati (drums)
Released: January 28th 2021
The Afro-American idiom in its most heartfelt meaning, played with extraordinary taste and mastery. The drive of a group of musicians whose dynamism and enthusiasm seem to know no moments of tiredness. This is a record that exudes knowledge of language and a strong sense of swing, testifying to the profound immersion that each of the members of the big band has gained within the stylistic features of jazz. In addition, the work sounds compact precisely in the choice of songs, absolutely not random and designed to give space not to useless and affected virtuosity but to a musical concept that fishes with both hands and pride in the great tradition of Afro-American music. And it is no coincidence that Bobby Watson is present, who expressed some of the best things about him right in the direction of big bands. The fact, then, that all this took place in Matera speaks volumes about the level of diffusion that this music has now reached. In the face of his detractors. – Gaeta (Musica Jazz)
There’s no time to waste! When you listen to the first notes coming from the piano, you immediately get caught in the flow of music and emotions coming from the nine tunes chosen by Dino Plasmati for a special encounter: his LJP Big Band with the great US jazz soloist Bobby Watson.
Guitarist, conductor and ensemble’s leader, Dino Plasmati chose the repertoire with care following some precise guidelines: a lively, joyful and constantly changing music able to lift the magnificent spirit of the band; a different approach to jazz tradition seen through uncommon/unique interpreters and composers; and last but not least, a superior strength coming from a larger ensemble, the impulse given by brass and wind sections and the dynamics that only a big band can perform/offer.
These are the distinctive features that clearly and consistently show the character of the LJP Big Band.
The amused and daring character of the band is soon revealed, together with the ability to captivate the audience with an effervescent mood amplified by a repertoire always performed in a dynamic and straightforward style. What’s more, even if the ballads keep a mellow sound, they never get schmaltzy but they are enlivened by an intense verve.
And finally, the funky nuances of Admiral’s horn, the sparking reinterpretation of Soul Kitchen by the Doors, the hard-bop boost given by Groovin’ Hard and the close dialogue among sections in the intro of Big Mama Case remove all doubts and state the intentions of the band.
The presence of Mr Bobby Watson counterbalances the choice of working with tunes and authors/musicians who, although sticking to tradition, belong mainly to a newer generation when compared to big historical figures. As in the case of the saxophonist, we are dealing with musicians who breached the path marked by their predecessors in order to find new expressive possibilities. And, “standing on the shoulders of Giants”, to quote Isaac Newton, they emphasized their own personal intuitions and taste, thus proving that jazz music can evolve even from its inwards.
First as a member of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers and afterwards as solo performer, Bobby Watson followed the same pattern: a predominant acoustic dimension, the coherent adherence to tradition without losing the opportunity to raise his distintive voice and suggest his own modern vision of the jazz language.
The combination of the soloist and the big band provides a fertile ground to put all that into place: dialogues and call-and-response among sections, the possibility to play with arrangements and to expand the tunes beyond the ‘usual’ sequence of theme and solos; the effect of dynamics. All these elements not only return but also multiply the expressive Energy that defines their character.
Dino Plasmati has been combining his activity as musician in smaller groups and his role as leader of the LJP Big Band for a long time now: the guitarist led his “creation” as a lab where growing and learning through constantly new challenges is the key and where different energies are channelled in order to be able to work with great International artists.
And so, there’s no time to waste…the piano has cued the music, soon the sections will rise up to play the first theme and soloists will get ready for their performances: we are already in the mood for music! – Fabio Ciminiera