Friday, July 7, 2017

Gruppo Afro Mediterraneo - 1972 - Blues Jazz Session

Gruppo Afro Mediterraneo 
Blues Jazz Session

01. Afro Mediterraneo Blues 18:20
02. Dondolando Sul 24 07:13
03. La Piantagione Del Blue 06:52
04. Cap. Roland Kirk 03:55

René Mantegna: Percussion
Marco Merilli: Sax, lLute
Daniele Cavallanti: Sax
Tom Paxton: Bass
Walter Maioli: oboe, flute, harmonica
Marco Rossi: Guitar
Beppe Guestavigna: Guitar
Ubaldo Scotti: Bass

Back in the early 1970s, members of Milan's disparate, multi-cultural musical community would regularly gather together for "blues-jazz" jam sessions. These improvised musical workouts, in which the rhythms of Africa, the Exoticism of the East, the electric blues of John Mayall and the dominant jazz trends of the day were melded into thrilling new shapes, were rarely recorded. This album, then, offers a rare glimpse into this little-known Milanese musical movement. Featuring four straight-to-tape improvisations from 1972, the album variously showcases heavy blues harmonica solos, spiritual jazz tropes, North African hand percussion, fluttering flute solos and killer jazz guitar throw-downs.

The release of Gruppo Afro Mediterraneo’s 1972 Blues Jazz Session, represents yet another revelation ushering from Black Sweat’s hands. These never before heard recordings, which date to 1972 – foreshadows the formation of Aktuala by less than a year. The album includes a number of that project’s soon to be members, in conjunction with those who later went on to form the equally legendary project I.P. Son. It is a sonic artifact, the importance of which soars to towering scale – a view into what lay before all that was to come. Gruppo Afro Mediterraneo, like much of the broader Italian scene, pays a beautiful disloyalty to the things it loves. It is an irreverent hybrid, pulling from the diverse musics of the world – presenting a hypothetical tangent. This is what the Pig Pen era Grateful Dead would have sounded like, had the band gone instrumental, fallen in love with Free and Spiritual Jazz, taken too much acid, lost their shit, and then landed in India or Africa for a bit too long. Like so many great things, 1972 Blues Jazz Session feels like it should have never been. It’s a moment – a celebration – a playful sonic adventure between friends. It’s bluesy, drenched in the traditions of Jazz, with psychedelic jams of sprawling lengths. It is a door, behind which we are finally lucky enough to be allowed.

Unreleased recordings of the future members of Aktuala and I.P. Son Group. The history takes us back in the alternative Milan of the early 70’s, to the flavour of the first jam-blues of that era when musicians from different parts of the world (India, Africa or South-America), of
disparate background and culture were used to gather to experiment
just with an authentic sense of stay together. In these four tracks seem to retrace the path of that spirit with which great pioneers such as John Mayall and Alexis Corner ferried from overseas the essence of the Afro-American music masters. Here, the devotion to the blues roots remains strong but leaks in the compositions an aerial and wandering component that is coloured as if by magic of exotic and spiritual accents. Hypnotic patterns of guitars flowing almost like raga-grooves slowed, free-jazz horns blowing winds of the ancient seas of the south, while voices and percussions span distant horizons now Latinos or Africans. Gruppo Afro Mediterraneo throws his eye on a cultural dimension more extensive and composite and therefore constitutes a fundamental historical document for a crucial period of Italian underground.

1 comment: