While the vast majority of my Italian is not suitable for print and has little if anything to do with the global influence of music, Italy and Viaveneto Jazz continues to be a variable sonic gold mine. While referring to themselves as a small label in Italy they continue to amaze with what would be considered major label quality here in the States and Agora Ta is certainly no exception.
Agora Ta is the cultural end result of a CD tribute to the great if not often over looked Brazilian singer Elis Regina carried out by Barbara Casini who is by far the most acclaimed interpreter of Brazilian music in Italy. Arrangement of this ensemble which takes its musical happy place somewhere between big band and small modern orchestra and handled with great care by Paolo Silvestru. There are some new tunes featured with this release so it is far from what one would consider a re-issue. One such tune and perhaps the highlight of this stellar recording is that of Italian trumpet master Enrico Rava's "Cidade do Amor Demais." Rava brings his own riff with a Miles Davis like bent for composition adding flavor and texture galore.
The remaining tunes are revisited but reinvented with pop and vitality for a jazz orchestra who has obviously been around the block a time or two. When any form of reharmonization of a tune takes places there are two main components for success which are authenticity and attitude. Agora Ta remains faithful to the "seventies" dynamic of the prior work while inventing that third A - attitude. While the small orchestra has their parts down cold, Casini plays the role of musical chameleon moving effortlessly from brilliant and aggressive to lyrical magic without stripping the listeners musical transmission. A exquisite take on the more traditional jazz cannon found in the United States is pulled off with sheer perfection if the Carey and Fischer ballad "You've Changed."
On a global scale, music that transcends genres and continents. A brilliant work!
Tracks: Na Batucada Da Vidi; Cidade Do Amor Demais; Agora Ta; Benzinho; Calcanhar De Aquiles; Valsarancho; You've Changed; Y Es Asi - Passion Dance (McCoy Tyner); E Com Esse Que; Eu Vou; Veracruz.
Personnel: Barbara Casini: voice; Paolo Silvestri: director, arrangements; Luca Lanza: alto sax, Dante Casu: contraalto sax; Massimo Carboni: tenor sax solo (1,2,6,8,9); Teodoro Ruzzettu: tenor sax; Marco Maiore: baritone sax; Giovana Agostino Frassetto flue, percussion (9); Luca Uras: trombone; Emanuele Dau: trombone; Pietro Pilo: trombone; Giovanni Sanna Passino: trombone solo (5,7); Gavino Mele: coronet; Roberto Chelo: coronet; Mario Corvini: trombone solo (3,4,5,6); Emiliano Desole: trombone; Mariano Tedde: piano solo (2,6,8,10); Antonio Pitzoi: chitarra solo (2,5,9); Alessandro Zolo bass; Luca Piana: batteria solo (5,8,10).