Rings of Fire – Downtown Music Gallery

Downtown Music Gallery talks about Rings Of Fire

Tenor/baritone/composer Daniele Cavallanti and drummer/percussionist/composer Tiziano Tononi, from Milano, Italy, have been playing together for the last thirty years. Since 1980 have been co-leading the band Nexus. Considered an historical avant-garde Italian band, Nexus has been voted a number of times best band by critics in the annual jazz magazine Musica Jazz “Top Jazz Referendum”. They are also founding members of the celebrated Italian Instabile Orchestra. Both with Nexus and the Italian Instabile Orchestra, Cavallanti and Tononi performed all over Europe, United States, Canada and Japan and during their career they have been playing and recording with some of the most representative Italian jazz musicians such as: Enrico Rava, Gianluigi Trovesi, Giancarlo Schiaffini, Giorgio Gaslini and with a number of international jazz masters such as: Raphael Garrett, Radu Malfatti, Barre Phillips, Oliver Lake, Leroy Jenkins, Glenn Ferris, Mark Dresser, Herb Robertson, Steve Lacy, Dave Liebman, Stuart Copeland, Andrew Cyrille, Maggie Nicols, Dewey Redman, Muhal Richard Abrahms, Cecil Taylor, Anthony Braxton, Roswell Rudd, Nels Cline, Elliott Sharp, William Parker, Hamid Drake, Willem Breuker, Wolter Wierbos, Jerry Granelli, Evan Parker, Paul Lytton, Jean-Jacques Avenel, Oliver Johnson, Michel Godard.
On this brand new CD, produced by Fabrizio Perissinotto, who originally conceived and commissioned the project to the two musicians, Cavallanti and Tononi present two long and ambitious suites (“Faces” by Daniele Cavallanti and “Phases” by Tiziano Tononi) for an extraordinary high level octet that features American violin rising star Jenny Scheinman, Emanuele Parrini on viola, Achille Succi on alto saxophone and bass clarinet, Massimo Mariani on guitar, Giovanni Maier on double and electric bass and Pacho on percussion.
“Featuring Jenny Scheinman & Emmanuele Parrini on strings, Danielle Cavallanti on tenor & bari saxes & Achille Succi on bass clarinet & alto sax, Massimo Mariani on electric guitar, Giovanni Maier on double & electric bass, Pacho on percussion, gongs & congas and Tiziano Tononi on drums & percussion. Both saxist Daniele Cavallanti and drummer, Tiziano Tononi have worked together in different projects for quite a while and can be heard on discs on Splasch and Black Saint. This amazing disc came in in November and I’ve played more than a dozen times since it is just incredible and it is 80 minutes long!
‘Rings of Fire’ is broken into two suites, “Faces” by Cavallanti and “Phases” by Tononi. Each section of ‘Faces’ is named after a film director, “Cassavetes”, “Bertolucci”, “Jarmusch,” “Wenders” and “Eastwood”. Right from the opening splash of sound, we know we are in for something special. Like the best film directors, we can feel often explosive dramatic tension, the balance of beauty and fear, intensity and subtly. This music is quite cinematic without the visual stimulation necessary. I love the spooky percussion and dynamic composing/playing on “Cassavetes”. This extraordinary ensemble in an octet with two saxes, two strings, two percussionists, el. guitar and bass. Hence, this is a sort of double band in which the same instruments often shadow or accentuate one another. The two turbulent saxes on this piece swirl around another magnificently as do the percussionists and strings. “Bertolucci” has one of those sly, spy movie themes with sublime harmonies for the strings and saxes. Each piece features both inspired solos and challenging writing. Achille’s probing alto sax rides high above the swell strings on “Wenders” with an effective and unexpected noise guitar solo tossed in, that just keeps getting better as both drummers swirl powerfully around him. Giovanni Maier’s hypnotic electric bass stands out on “Eastwood” , as do the mesmerizing arrangements for the entire octet, with a perfect Trane-like solo from Cavallanti.
‘Phases’ is the second suite and it is in three parts. It is beautifully composed and played with strong solos from all. I love the churning harmonies for the saxes and strings on “”Before the Storm”. When the bass and drums lay out, we find a strong communal spirit for the strings and saxes only together. There are a series of trios and duos on the this piece, all of which are splendid, focused and always inspired. There are way too many great solos, inspired ensemble writing and playing throughout this entire epic-length disc to note here. Each time I listen to this gem, I hear so much more. 80 minutes is the most one can fit on an entire disc and considering that this disc is wonderful from the beginning to the end makes it even better. Bravo, bravo!”

Bruce Lee Gallanter

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