Canto a tenore, a traditional Sardinian folk music can take a bit of getting used to: it’s like a polyphonic throat singing barbershop quartet. Sometimes the songs are as old as the island’s hills, other times the songs are spontaneous comments on what’s happening right here and now. This is the music that Paolo Angeli grew up with, and at first blush it would not seem to intersect with modern jazz. But Angeli is a musician who is not averse to pushing down barriers between genres and styles. Here is a musician, who when the normal six stringed guitar proved inadequate for his ideas, built one with 18 strings (six normal, eight transverse, and four suspended) incorporating hammers, pedals, motors and pick ups. Rob Burke (coordinator of jazz and popular music at Monash University) initiated and led a project to combine Angeli with three Australian jazz musicians and an Italian rhythm section, all of whom share a jazz sensibility and an openness to ideas and a passion for creativity, put them in a studio and press the record button. Recorded in December 2015 in the small but beautiful Tuscan town of Prato, the group used traditional Sardinian tunes as a base to experiment, improvise and collaboratively create new music that shimmers into unexpected and innovative directions. Some of the pieces are short, simple fragments of ideas, while others are complex and developed exploration of what’s possible, and all of it is unified by a sense of healing, a ritualistic, almost liturgical elevation of the soul, the music of a new generation of (pardon the pun) angels.
Paolo Angeli: Voice, Prepared Sardinian Guitar and ‘gadgets'; Robert Burke: tenor sax, soprano sax, bass clarinet; Mirko Guerrini: tenor sax, soprano sax, baritone sax; Jordan Murray: trombone; Stephen Magnusson: electric guitar; Stefano Tamborrino: drumset.
All tracks composed by Angeli, Burke, Guerrini, Magnusson, Murray and Tamborrino; Recorded: 6th December 2015, Sonoria Recording Studios – Prato (Italy) Engineered, mixed and mastered: Andrea Benassai; Produced: Rob Burke, Mirko Guerrini, Stephen Magnusson and Jordan Murray