Dec 20 2015
I tend to shy away from the descriptors used by musicians for their own music, but the septet Slivovitz describes their sound as “progressive gypsy electro-eclectic jazz,” and that’s really about as good as anything I could have come up with myself. Comprised of saxophone, guitar, trumpet, violin, harmonica, bass and drums, they spend as much time on All You Can Eat working a folk or rock angle as they do jazz, and that slippery genre action is one of the elements that really brings out the music’s charged personality. No less notable, though, is that no matter how far out on the fringes the ensemble travels, they always take care to turn back and give a big wave to the melody. Those melodies, by the way, are often as catchy as anything you’ll find on the pop music scene.
Album opener “Persian Night” immediately gets around to showing that this group is unlikely going to just stand in one spot for very long before moving on to the next, unexpected landing point. It also goes a long way to proving that their diversity of sound is no obstacle to providing some seriously tuneful music. The way that violin swoops in and takes the pretty melody out for a ride is one of many thrilling moments on this recording.
The exuberant bounce of “Passannante” gets balanced out with some electric guitar crunch and grind, resulting in a song that serves up both a wide smile and a sharp edge. “Mani In Faccia” works similar territory, but focuses in tight on the groove while occasionally breaking with some lovely melodic interludes. “Hangover” does away with the concept of interludes, and provides the sole instance of conventional strong structure… it also allows the group to show how their melodic talents extend to expressions of a greater duration than introductory statements and transitory passages.
“Barotrauma” gets up to dance, but some nice harmonic action between saxophone and harmonica infuses the motion with a dose of atmospheric fuzziness to counterbalance the crisp rhythmic moves. On the other hand, “Yahtzee” leads out with a slow exhalation of the prettiest melody, and then manipulates the imagery when they release the melody to the soloists and watch it drift away… not unlike a child letting go their balloon and giving it up to the sky.
The album closes out, first, with “Currywurster,” a song that stomps its feet while etching a thick groove into the surface of the song. In an interesting turn of events, the song dissipates, loudly, with dissonance, effects and an undercurrent of harmony that softens all the harsh edges just enough to bring it all together. They close the album out with “Oblio,” a song that opens with a gentle embrace, transitions to a stomp and twirl, and then just runs off to the horizon with the melody held out before them.
A very cool album, constructed with a smart balance of beauty and intelligence.
Your album personnel: Pietro Santangelo (tenor & alto saxes), Marcello Giannini (electric & acoustic guitars), Riccardo Villari (acoustic & electric violins), Ciro Riccardi (trumpet), Derek Di Perri (harmonica), Vincenzo Lamagna (bass guitar) and Salvatore Rainone (drums).
Released on MoonJune Records.
Listen to more of the album on the artist’s Bandcamp page.
Jazz from the Naples, Italy scene.