Auand Label's Bisceglie Breakout Strikes Right Balance Between Freedom And Finesse

 Orchestre

Since its inception in 2001 the Auand imprint has emerged as a key hub for jazz in Italy, providing an essential platform for new generations of improvisers such as Gianluca Petrella, Francesco Bearzatti and, latterly, Zeno De Rossi and Leonardo Rizzi. Its catalogue also boasts releases by Americans who always manage to be interesting, such as David Binney and Cuong Vu, which means that, despite its relatively low profile in the UK, Auand is very much a benchmark of quality whose distinctive luminous green hand-eye logo is the sign of music that is worth looking up and lending an ear to. Most impressively, the label is run by the one-man band of producer Marco Valente in the picturesque seaside town of Bisceglie in the Puglia region of southern Italy. His relentless dynamism is perhaps mirrored by the powerhouse achievements that have come to define the local cuisine and foodstuffs. In the 1920s and 1930s Bisceglie was the largest supplier of table grapes in Europe and the quality of cherries, olives, fish and 'sospiro', an iced sponge cake moulded into the shape of a breast, has been recognized by many 'Slow Food' evangelists.

WalkingSax

Over the eight days of the Auand Festival, Valente judiciously programmed events to give a vivid sense of the Bisceglian art de vivre and cultural richness, as well as the excellence of the musicians on his label. A walking tour of Palazzo Tuputti by Piero Bittolo Bon is the highpoint of the schedule. The alto saxophonist leads the audience through this exhibition centre housed in a medieval building of high ceilings and fine masonry where each room tells the story of a particular kind of local produce. Showing much creativity in his changes of timbre, attack and phrasing, from lyrical whispers to rugged overtones, Bittolo Bon keeps flawless time, and his use of the instrument's keys as a percussive, 'finger-drumming' device is quite electrifying to hear at high tempo. Required to play while almost constantly on the move Bittolo Bon proves an incisive and potent improviser who creates intriguing melodic vignettes that effectively soundtrack the texts and images that present a wealth of riches dalla terra et mare.

The other solo performance that greatly captures the imagination is guitarist Manlio Maresca's lunchtime set at Verde Matematico. The charming restaurant with a courtyard for al fresco dining provides a serene setting for a performance that is anything but. Pleasingly, there is a tightly calibrated violence in the performance that takes it far away from the timid sedations of any background music. As the patrons clink cutlery Maresca bangs out off-centre beats from a sampler while an effects unit enables him to mangle his tone with a somewhat acrid flavour that contrasts entirely with the finesse of the dishes on the menu. A worthy inheritor of the distortion-as-sonic-sculpture aesthetic of the likes of Marc Ducret and Jeff Parker, Maresca is nothing if not audacious in his blend of rhythmic zigzags, serrated themes and psycho-funk chords that create a danse macabre with much humour. 

Joyous cheers rather than coughs of indigestion are the tips thrown in his direction. If the intensity of the audience reaction says a lot about how well Auand Days works in small venues then further confirmation comes in the shape of trios at the very genial Make Art bar in the centre of town. Crammed into the corner of the heaving room The Storytellers offer a zestful take on the guitar-organ-drums combo, while Mirko Signorile leads a piano trio in which the Fender Rhodes rather than a Steinway takes pride of place, evoking post-Bitches Brew imagery as if to the manner born. More small groups appear at the Palazzo Tuputti, the pick of the bunch being the quartet in which Federico Pierantoni's trombone and Andrea Grillini's drums combine to produce a barreling low-end funk that occasionally loosens into more freeish abstraction. Several of the aforementioned players, along with the articulate guitarist Francesco Diodati, a noted young sideman to Enrico Rava among others, feature in the Piccolo Coro Elettroacoustico as well as the all-star Auanders. The former sees them stationed at laptops to create a shifting canvas of crunchy digital eruptions that has moments of intriguing tension and underwhelming tedium, which is to be expected given its wholly improvised nature, while the latter is an enjoyable demonstration of ensemble playing in which swirling horn lines as well as the hearty gurgles of Bittolo Bon's bass clarinet work well.

The climax of the festival though is Orchestre Specale Don Uva, which is a big band comprising patients from a nearby mental health hospital. The performance achieves the not inconsiderable feat of giving a degree of dignity to those that society might deem 'special needs', and allows them to express themselves all the while responding to the wily directions of conductor Stefano Tamborrino. In an age when mixed ability ensembles are in fashion it is very rewarding to see a concert that strikes such a winning balance between discipline and freedom, creating a deeply prevailing sense of humanity. Yet that is the defining theme of a festival in which music is presented as social cohesion within a warm, grande famiglia ambiance.

– Kevin Le Gendre
– Photos by Leonardo Todisco and Domenico Soriano

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website

If you do not change browser settings, you consent to continue. Learn more

I understand

Breaking News

WIN three stunning Bill Evans vinyl LP sets by entering the Jazzwise Reader Survey

WIN three stunning Bill Evans vinyl LP s…

We'd love to know what you think of Jazzwise. We...

Read More.....
Zoe Rahman leads Inner City Ensemble with nine new talents on board

Zoe Rahman leads Inner City Ensemble wit…

Leading UK pianist Zoe Rahman is set to head up...

Read More.....
Makaya McCraven, Ashley Henry RE:ENSEMBLE and Theon Cross Trio unite Chicago and London for International Anthems

Makaya McCraven, Ashley Henry RE:ENSEMBL…

Some of the most exciting names from London and Chicago's...

Read More.....
The Write Stuff adds new qualification for young writers aged 18-25

The Write Stuff adds new qualification f…

This year's Write Stuff music journalism course will return for...

Read More.....
Exclusive stream of ‘I Miss You’ – New single from Wayne Shorter produced seven-piece Holophonor

Exclusive stream of ‘I Miss You’ – New s…

Fast emerging US progressive jazz seven-piece Holophonor are set to...

Read More.....
Parliamentary Jazz Awards 2017 nominees announced

Parliamentary Jazz Awards 2017 nominees …

  The nominees for the 2017 Parliamentary Jazz Awards have been...

Read More.....
John Jack – 1933-2017

John Jack – 1933-2017

John Jack was one of those figures who seem to...

Read More.....
Liane Carroll, Miles Mosley and Seal for Jazz Voice’s tenth anniversary at EFG London Jazz Festival

Liane Carroll, Miles Mosley and Seal for…

The names have been revealed for this year's 10th edition...

Read More.....
Video Exclusive – 'Forlane' from VEIN Plays Ravel

Video Exclusive – 'Forlane' from VEIN Pl…

Swiss piano trio VEIN release their latest album, VEIN Plays...

Read More.....
Denys Baptiste, Mike Gibbs and ICP Orchestra for Turner Sims autumn/winter programme

Denys Baptiste, Mike Gibbs and ICP Orche…

Southampton's Turner Sims concert hall has a bumper crop of...

Read More.....
Nubya Garcia lines up for Steve Reid Innovation showcase – video preview

Nubya Garcia lines up for Steve Reid Inn…

This year's edition of the Steve Reid Innovation showcase will...

Read More.....
Tom Millar Quartet takes Unnatural Events on tour

Tom Millar Quartet takes Unnatural Event…

Pianist and composer Tom Millar starts his autumn tour this...

Read More.....
Hats off for Stetson's big blowout at Brighton's Duke of York

Hats off for Stetson's big blowout at Br…

  Colin Stetson has enough draw to fill this arthouse cinema...

Read More.....
A show of hands for percussion legend Giovanni Hidalgo at Jazz Cafe

A show of hands for percussion legend Gi…

Some of the UK's leading percussionists will be gathering at...

Read More.....
Walter Becker 1950-2017

Walter Becker 1950-2017

Walter Becker and Donald Fagen may have been two against...

Read More.....
Robert Glasper, Jaga Jazzist and Aron Ottignon added to EFG London Jazz Fest 25th anniversary Line-Up

Robert Glasper, Jaga Jazzist and Aron Ot…

This year's momentous 25th EFG London Jazz Festival, which runs...

Read More.....
Legacies live on as Sidewinder and Coltrane hit silver screen

Legacies live on as Sidewinder and Coltr…

  September can be a quiet month for music fans, after...

Read More.....
Metropole Orkest Modernise Mingus On Prom Night

Metropole Orkest Modernise Mingus On Pro…

Charlie Mingus famously encouraged musicians to play without charts, creating...

Read More.....
Nick Duckett talks about the Harry South The Songbook – “…a British Quincy Jones”

Nick Duckett talks about the Harry South…

Pub conversations can get you in a world of grief...

Read More.....
Obituary: Sue Steward

Obituary: Sue Steward

One of Songlines' founding contributing editors, and Jazzwise writer, Sue...

Read More.....
John Abercrombie 1944 – 2017

John Abercrombie 1944 – 2017

The final two recordings by guitarist John Abercrombie for the...

Read More.....
Mansur Brown and Yussef Dayes go supernova with the Jimi Hendrix Songbook

Mansur Brown and Yussef Dayes go superno…

Rising star guitarist Mansur Brown and exciting drummer Yusef Dayes...

Read More.....
Omar Puente and Melt Yourself Down get Canary Wharf Jazz Fest moving

Omar Puente and Melt Yourself Down get C…

The Canary Wharf Jazz Festival has been successfully putting on...

Read More.....
Video Exclusive for Sam Braysher’s ‘Dancing In The Dark’

Video Exclusive for Sam Braysher’s ‘Danc…

Emerging UK sax talent Sam Braysher releases his intimate new...

Read More.....
Dhafer Youssef and Get the Blessing get Gaume grooving

Dhafer Youssef and Get the Blessing get …

  When Get the Blessing call for audience participation, they're startled...

Read More.....
Kinch and Carroll cap Sligo capers

Kinch and Carroll cap Sligo capers

The combined festival and summer school in Sligo have had...

Read More.....
Southampton Gets Ahead As New Jazz Venue Prospers

Southampton Gets Ahead As New Jazz Venue…

  (Pianist Jason Rebello guests on the Talking Heads stage with...

Read More.....
Edwards and Castle pursue chaotic pulse at The Verdict

Edwards and Castle pursue chaotic pulse …

  'Crossover' is a word much employed by critics when talking...

Read More.....
Mark Guiliana makes mark as Jazz Middelheim's artist-in-residence

Mark Guiliana makes mark as Jazz Middelh…

Jazz Middelheim is a great jazz fest situated in front...

Read More.....
Marius Neset, Nils Landgren and Tonbruket light up Ystad Jazz Fest

Marius Neset, Nils Landgren and Tonbruke…

Now in its eighth year the Ystad Jazz Festival (not...

Read More.....
Hyelim Kim and Alice Zawadzki get K-Music kicking

Hyelim Kim and Alice Zawadzki get K-Musi…

This year's edition of the London Festival of Korean Music...

Read More.....
Binker & Moses 'Fete By The River' – Video Exclusive

Binker & Moses 'Fete By The River' –…

  Clap your pies on this vid exclusive from award-winning London...

Read More.....
Steve Lehman and Pat Metheny Lead The Moldejazz Pack

Steve Lehman and Pat Metheny Lead The Mo…

Flying north-west from Oslo on a propeller aeroplane, the first...

Read More.....
Redman's Rhythmic Reveries Live The Dream At Manchester Jazz Fest

Redman's Rhythmic Reveries Live The Drea…

Joshua Redman (top), looking super svelte in suit and dicky...

Read More.....
Anoushka Shankar, Hiromi and Shabaka and the Ancestors get Jazz à Juan jumping

Anoushka Shankar, Hiromi and Shabaka and…

After the terrible events on the Promenade des Anglais on...

Read More.....
Vote Now for 2017 Parliamentary Jazz Awards

Vote Now for 2017 Parliamentary Jazz Awa…

This year's Parliamentary Jazz Awards will take place on 10...

Read More.....

ABJazzWise


Subcribe To Jazzwise

Advertisement

Call 0800 137201 to subscribe or click here to email the subscriptions team

Get in touch

Jazzwise Magazine,
St. Judes Church,
Dulwich Road, 
Herne Hill,
London, SE24 0PD.

0208 677 0012

Latest Tweets

@frozenreeds yeah, I think this might be his Sultans of Ping FC covers band (with a misanthropic edge)
Follow Us - @Jazzwise
@frozenreeds you seen who it is?
Follow Us - @Jazzwise

Newsletter

Sign up to the Jazzwise monthly E-Newsletter

 

© 2016 MA Business & Leisure Ltd registered in England and Wales number 02923699 Registered office: Jesses Farm, Snow Hill, Dinton, Salisbury, SP3 5HN . Designed By SE24 MEDIA