Edoardo Marraffa_Tenor & Sopranino Sax
Antonio Borghini_Double Bass
Fotos: Helmut Steidler
RAW AND POWERFUL FREE JAZZ FROM ITALY
ECO D'ALBERI ADAPT A FREE JAZZ STYLED GO FOR BROKE PERFORMANCE ETHOS WITH THE QUARTET'S SOUND AND METHOD OPERATION THAT IS COMPLETELY IT'S OWN.
ECO D'ALBERI HAS CONFIRMED ITS SKILL AND THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THEIR CD AS A MASTERFUL EXAMPLE OF FREE EXRESSION FROM MUSICIANS OF ANY COUNTRY.
The Name Eco D'alberi is inspired by Echo Tree a short story by Henry Dumas
Main Concerts and Festivals
Konfrontationen Festival (Nickelsdorf, Austria 2007)
Vision Festival (New York, 2008)
Uncool Festival (Poschiavo, Switzerland 2009)
Taktlos Festival (Zurich, Switzerland 2009)
An Insolent Noise Festival (Pisa, Italy 2009)
Chilly Jazz Festival (Austria, 2010)
ONE OFF appeareances:
Eco d'Alberi + Axel Dorner (Uncool Festival)
Eco d'Alberi + AACM members, Including Douglas Ewart, Nicole Mitchell, Ernest Dawkins, Tomeka Reid (An Insolent Noise Festival, Chicago Edition)
All members have been collaborating with a wide range of musicians. Among others:
Tristan Honsinger, John Butcher, Anthony Braxton, Lisle Ellis, Wadada Leo Smith, John Edwards, Peter Kowald, David Murray, Hamid Drake, Paul Lytton, Sean Bergin, Butch Morris, ROVA, Hans Koch, Jack Wright, Wilbert De Joode, Ab Baars, Michael Zerang, Larry Ochs...
VISION FESTIVAL, PRESS QUOTES
All About Jazz NY [John Sharpe]
Rounding off a high class evening was an unexpected pleasure from a collective quartet of Italian musicians,
Their 38-minute set broke down into three pieces, all free-form improvisations, created cohesively with ego sublimated to the collective ethic, and conversationally paced. That's not to say that there weren't points at which the spotlight fixed on one or another, but such eddies developed naturally from the improvisational currents.
A highly regarded set and yet more confirmation, were it still needed in the 21st century, that quality free jazz emanates from all points of the compass..
With Edoardo Marraffa on tenor & sopranino sax, Alberto Braida on piano, Antonio Borghini on double bass and Fabrizio Spera on drums. This gem of Italian free/jazz came in the mail and I listened to it a few times before checking out the personnel. Pianist Alberto Braida has a half dozen discs on different labels like Clean Feed, Red Toucan, Nuscope & Nubop, having worked with Peter Kowald, John Butcher & Lisle Ellis. Drummer Fabrizio Spera has also recorded with John Butcher, Mike Cooper & Wolfgang Fuchs. Spera is currently a member of 7K Oaks, an international quartet who will be playing at Victo this year (2011). Bassist Borghini can be found in two different ensembles, Chant & Domino Quartet, both of whom have discs on the Auand label.
It turns out that this quartet played at the Vision Fest in 2008, which is where the first two long tracks were recorded. Although this music is improvised, it has a strong balanced undertow and flow. "Tutto Cielo" starts with a cautious, understated vibe. The interplay between the tenor & piano and the bass & drums is tight and spirited. Although Mr. Marraffa squeaks and squeals on his tenor, he is never very far from what the pianist is playing. Things calm down when Marraffa switches to sopranino sax, twisting his notes inside out quietly at first. This quartet specializes in that edge-of-your-seat sort of excitement wondering what will come next. This is particularly fine quartet who are listening closely and responding with powerful results. Nice to hear some master improvisers from Italy playing such a great set at the Vision Fest. The last two pieces come from two other festivals in Pisa, Italy and in Zurich, Switzerland. The quartet play equally well whenever they go so this entire disc is great, intense and creative throughout. Bravo!
Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery
Collected Writings By Massimo Ricci
ECO DALBERI Eco DAlberi
Posted on March 14, 2011
An all-Italian quartet at their debut album in this lineup, Eco DAlberi (which means Echo Of Trees, the name influenced by Henry Dumas novel Echo Tree) consists of saxophonist Edoardo Marraffa, pianist Alberto Braida, double bassist Alberto Borghini and drummer Fabrizio Spera. Presenting four live tracks recorded in different festivals in New York, Pisa and Zurich the group is pushed by a vivid freedom of speech regulated by experience, sensibility and knowledge of past tradition. Marraffa a gifted instrumentalist, rich in fantasy and uncontrollability, to whom Ive culpably arrived late is the predominant voice, his excursions with tenor and sopranino paving the way for the consideration and utter esteem of phrases that sound both articulate and uneducable; a cross of squealing rage, finesse and irony, buckets of iced water thrown in the face of reed-fuelled humdrum. Braida is very good at sustaining the harmonic architecture without excess of overflow, maintaining control even in the moments where collective exhilaration would risk to shove less mature musicians towards an undesired chaos. Borghini moves behind the scenes with classy nonchalance, still managing to get noticed as the chance appears, daintily arcoed junctures and improvisational intuitions as constituents of a silently effective personality. Speras strategic placement of rhythmic traps and constant generation of uneven percussive gradations confirm him as a performer endowed with brain, a drumming composer working side by side with equally talented comrades in a broad-minded approach to an exciting form of no-brand, totally honest eruptive jazz interspersed with a few quieter segments.
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These veteran Italian improvisers convey freedom of expression with a musical panorama that scales rather well. One of the compelling factors on this live recording pertains to the bands ability to expand themes and subplots without concentrating on one mode of action. With capacious and unrestricting dialogues to complement a myriad of asymmetrical rhythmic variations, the musicians inject dainty contrasts and temperate flows into the grand schema.
Saxophonist Edoardo Marraffas raspy voicings and unbinding processes are effectively countered by pianist Alberto Braidas fluid choruses and interlinking notes. At times, the musicians pursue a vibe that is derived on fleeting structural components, paired with a hearty stance. However, the program is not monolithic. Think of a sliding scale type groove, gushing with angst, calamity and treated with sobering moments.
Marraffas brawny notes and impacting dynamics are contrasted by microtonal musings via his subliminal sopranino sax parts on Radice. Here, the quartet journeys to a vast expanse. However the thirty-two minute Calls, is a study in rip-roaring improvisation where the band tears themes into shreds amid bad intentions.
Pianist Alberto Braida serves as a near flawless foil for Marraffa with his cascading chord phrasings and hammering block chords. Nonetheless, the musicians profess great synergy and intuitive frameworks. Its free-jazz, underscored with soul and a clear-sighted group-centric vision.
Reviewed by: Glenn Astarita
Eco DAlberi are an Italian free jazz combo, evidence of the free improv and jazz activity that has apparently been burgeoning in that part of Europe since the mid-1990s. Here they are recorded live on their self-titled CD (PORTER RECORDS PRCD-4054) performing in New York, Pisa and Zurich at various festivals in recent years. Ken Waxmans liner notes point out that these Italians took their name from a short story by Henry Dumas, the Afro-American poet, writer and political activist who was heavily influenced by free jazz and moved in Sun Ras personal orbit during the 1960s. Eco DAberis music may not be as radical as this name-checking might suggest, but Edoardo Marraffa is the first tenorman Ive heard who audibly plays with an Italian accent; he may keep trying to find his way back into his Ornette and Coltrane records, yet his speedy phrases still come out slicked-up with olive oil. This I regard as evidence of his
distinctive voice. Pianist Alberto Braida has been paying close attention to Cecil Taylor performances from the 1980s, but this Juilliard-flavoured dimension is another aspect that works in the groups favour. When the quartet are not taking everything head-on like an impending car collision at high speed (such as on Up Toward The Sun), they are capable of following a curlicued path around an ornate cement garden with as many quasi-classical twists and turns as an Italian operetta. Ed Pinsent (Sound Projector)