FAME Review: Slivovitz - Bani Ahead
Slivovitz - Bani Ahead

Bani Ahead


Moonjune Records - MJR039

Available from Moonjune Records.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker

Big band progrock jazz fusion?!?! Yes indeed, and were Gil Evans alive to catch this Italian septet, he'd be itching to get back in the conducting /writing seat. The band has been together since 2001, though this is only, as far as I can determine, their third release. That decade of woodshedding, however, accounts for the extremely sophisticated sound and chameleonic ability to grab, transfigure, and slough constantly shifting modalities and genres like magic. For this, the band has (by Amazon.com…ahem!) been compared to John Zorn and Frank Zappa. Yeahhhhhhhh, well, I guess when ya have no musical references other than the American, you might say that, hm, Amazonslavetrade.com?

However, Slivovitz draws from a hidden but rather impressive Italian tradition based in Il Volo, Area, Banco, and other estimable combos, then over to the Brits and compeers in their experimentations in le jazz outré Europeane (Keef Hartley, Soft Machine, The Trio, Centipede, etc.) as well as Mingus, Kirk, Zawinul, and the woolier fusion/freak/outside rogues who followed on Miles' lead in the States, exploring the far reaches of intercontinental soundbridging with spatio-temporal permutations. Perhaps the most unique aspect in Slivovitz is the inclusion of Derek di Perri's harmonica every so often in the brass section—wotta a great damn idea! Works marvelously. Like many modern such groups, Slivovitz's sound is very organic…but with few solos, the players forever meshing in a complicated web, a forest of sound with capering denizens.

Discs like this are a godsend to the children of the 70s and a carrying on of past standards for succeeding generations. Well beyond various styles of neoprenized cellophane soup proffered by the mainstream and the anthemics of too much film scoring, this artistic collective sweats and leaps, jumping from passage to passage, rainbows and storm clouds erupting with frenzy and wild abandon, nothing content to remain in place very long (the real basis for the Zappa/Zorn comparatives), a canvas melding Bosch, Dali, Greco, Caravagio, and a Balkan version of the Hudson Valley school in a muralized narrative refusing to obey tradition.

Track List:

  • Egiziaca (Pietro Santangelo)
  • Cleopatra Through (Pietro Santangelo)
  • Fat (Domenico Angarano)
  • Vascello (Marcello Giannini)
  • 01-09 (Marcello Giannini)
  • Oppus Focus (Pietro Santangelo)
  • Bani Ahead (Pietro Santangelo)
  • Pocho (Marcello Giannini)

Edited by: David N. Pyles

Copyright 2011, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
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