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

Campaign builds to rename Williamsburg Bridge in Sonny Rollins’ honour

Campaign builds to rename Williamsburg B…

It's been four years since Sonny Rollins, 86, last took...

Read More.....
Boogie at the Bandstand – the Love Supreme low-down

Boogie at the Bandstand – the Love Supre…

Ahead of the start next week of the fifth edition...

Read More.....
Tin Men and the Telephone and Tord Gustavsen for Ronnie’s Piano Trio Fest

Tin Men and the Telephone and Tord Gusta…

The fourth edition of the Ronnie Scott's International Piano Trio...

Read More.....
Marcus Miller, Chick Corea and Charles Lloyd top Blue Note at Sea cruise 2018

Marcus Miller, Chick Corea and Charles L…

Following the success of the inaugural Blue Note at Sea...

Read More.....
Alice and John Coltrane Celebration, Nik Bärtsch and Eliane Elias added to EFG London Jazz Festival

Alice and John Coltrane Celebration, Nik…

A raft of new concert hall additions have been announced...

Read More.....
Laila Biali and Idang Rasjidi Syndicate shine at Borneo Jazz Festival

Laila Biali and Idang Rasjidi Syndicate …

Set against the lush tropical gardens that stretch down from...

Read More.....
Doom Crooners Dale Cooper Quartet & The Dictaphones: Torch Song Cult

Doom Crooners Dale Cooper Quartet & …

Britanny-based brigands Dale Cooper Quartet & The Dictaphones have forged...

Read More.....
Ollie Howell ‘Knew’ video exclusive ahead of UK tour dates

Ollie Howell ‘Knew’ video exclusive ahea…

Fast rising drummer Ollie Howell recently released his second album...

Read More.....
Theo Crocker, Neil Cowley Trio and Martin Taylor step up for Glasgow

Theo Crocker, Neil Cowley Trio and Marti…

The 31st edition of the Glasgow Jazz Festival, running from...

Read More.....
Geoff Simkins, Nikki Iles and Dave Green out to lunch at Cadogan Hall

Geoff Simkins, Nikki Iles and Dave Green…

Although billed as individuals, this effectively was the Geoff Simkins...

Read More.....
Marco Colonna and Filippo Vignato Among Homegrown Heroes At Novara Jazz, Italy

Marco Colonna and Filippo Vignato Among …

  A ritual accompanies the end of every concert at this...

Read More.....
Jazz In The Round, Arena and Bandstand names complete Love Supreme Line-Up

Jazz In The Round, Arena and Bandstand n…

A final flurry of additional performances have been confirmed for...

Read More.....
Folk-Jazz on the Fjords and Elephant9 get gnarly at Nutshell Jazz

Folk-Jazz on the Fjords and Elephant9 ge…

Suddenly, a burly Viking saxophonist is softly blowing a ballad...

Read More.....
Loueke and LRK light up Brussels Jazz Weekend

Loueke and LRK light up Brussels Jazz We…

Real Brussels is nothing like the Brussels of politicised fiction...

Read More.....
Maisha celebrate the Alice Coltrane Songbook at Church Of Sound

Maisha celebrate the Alice Coltrane Song…

The spiritual jazz legacy of Alice Coltrane is set for...

Read More.....
Soft Machine fire-up Elgar Room

Soft Machine fire-up Elgar Room

British jazz-rock legends Soft Machine will be firing up the...

Read More.....
Brad Mehldau Trio, Georgie Fame and Camilla Beeput shine at Bath Festival

Brad Mehldau Trio, Georgie Fame and Cami…

Brad Mehldau, Georgie Fame with Guy Barker's Big Band and...

Read More.....
Tenth edition of Made in the UK rolls up to Rochester

Tenth edition of Made in the UK rolls up…

This year's 10th edition of the Made in the UK...

Read More.....
Django Bates Salutes Sgt. Pepper’s 50th anniversary with album and six nights at Ronnie Scott’s

Django Bates Salutes Sgt. Pepper’s 50th …

Jazzwise can exclusively announce that Django Bates, cover star of...

Read More.....
John Surman scoops Ivor Novello Jazz Award

John Surman scoops Ivor Novello Jazz Awa…

Brit-jazz sax great John Surman has won the Ivors Jazz...

Read More.....
Polly Gibbons gets passionate at Pizza Express Jazz Club

Polly Gibbons gets passionate at Pizza E…

Having been a fan of Polly Gibbons' vocal and songwriting...

Read More.....
Sax Star Stetson Plays Historic Brighton Picture House

Sax Star Stetson Plays Historic Brighton…

  Sax powerhouse Colin Stetson plays a one-off solo show in...

Read More.....
LUME Launch Follow-Up London Fest

LUME Launch Follow-Up London Fest

  Those genre-bending bastions of the UK's new jazz wave LUME...

Read More.....
Global Fusions and 25 for 25 Commissions Fire-Up EFG London Jazz Festival

Global Fusions and 25 for 25 Commissions…

Some exciting international jazz names are among the latest additions...

Read More.....
Joshua Redman, Phronesis/Engines Orchestra and Cottonopolis for Manchester Jazz Festival line-up

Joshua Redman, Phronesis/Engines Orchest…

The line-up has been announced for this year's Manchester Jazz...

Read More.....
Harpist Bzhezhinska strums up whole-hearted homage to the Coltrane legacy

Harpist Bzhezhinska strums up whole-hear…

  One of the capital's lesser known jazz venues, Toulouse Lautrec...

Read More.....
Norma Winstone and Interplay show how it’s done

Norma Winstone and Interplay show how it…

When a top vocalist is in such high demand and...

Read More.....
Andrew McCormack accelerates with Graviton album launch

Andrew McCormack accelerates with Gravit…

Award-winning pianist Andrew McCormack is set to make a dramatic...

Read More.....
Corea Crowns Host Of Cheltenham Charms

Corea Crowns Host Of Cheltenham Charms

A successful jazz festival is made in the mix: the...

Read More.....
The Rolling Stones give Jazz FM Awards the blues

The Rolling Stones give Jazz FM Awards t…

Rock'n'roll icons The Rolling Stones walked away from last week's...

Read More.....
Penguins Flip Filmic Treat At Bristol's Colston Hall

Penguins Flip Filmic Treat At Bristol's …

GoGo Penguin have always had one eye on the dancefloor...

Read More.....
Intakt Fest Goes International At The Vortex

Intakt Fest Goes International At The Vo…

  Given the fact that Swiss record company Intakt has been...

Read More.....
Shabaka Hutchings, Donny McCaslin and The Rolling Stones among Jazz FM Awards winners

Shabaka Hutchings, Donny McCaslin and Th…

The fourth edition of the Jazz FM Awards, presented by...

Read More.....
Special London Screening Of Ascenseur Pour L'échafaud

Special London Screening Of Ascenseur Po…

As part of the global celebrations for International Jazz Day...

Read More.....
Norma Winstone’s Interplay line-up for Leamington Spa

Norma Winstone’s Interplay line-up for L…

To coincide with International Jazz Day, Leamington Spa-based promoters In...

Read More.....
Alice Zawadzki and Gwyneth Herbert sing with Sam Lee’s Nightingales

Alice Zawadzki and Gwyneth Herbert sing …

Adventurous Mercury Prize-nominated folk singer Sam Lee's nature-bound concert series...

Read More.....


Qobuz-ad

 

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

Nick Prol & The Proletarians: wondrous Loon Attic mind-flubbers, crisping brain circuits https://t.co/pWtbnP8yCo @CUNEOFFICIAL @RecCollMag
Follow Us - @Jazzwise
@DaftLimmy You've kept this quiet...
Follow Us - @Jazzwise
Campaign builds to rename Williamsburg Bridge in Sonny Rollins’ honour https://t.co/s75PT9WVTT https://t.co/mpe7Ten72x
Follow Us - @Jazzwise
@DiscoveryRecor1 @hawkinsmusic @LauraJurd @juliekjaersax @percypursglove Soon the world will be ours... they alread… https://t.co/3tnHoDEocj
Follow Us - @Jazzwise
@DiscoveryRecor1 @hawkinsmusic @LauraJurd @juliekjaersax @percypursglove Hey Discovery, not Jon... a minion...
Follow Us - @Jazzwise

Newsletter

Sign up to the Jazzwise monthly E-Newsletter