'Featuring Marc Ribot + A Turtle Soup' is an ambitious double CD containing two sessions by the new quartet led by Giovanni Maier, 'Technicolor'. Giovanni Maier is a skilled and critically acclaimed double bass player. His style is strong and intense, his attack on strings thunderous and precise. Among his many prestigious collaborations over the years: the famous'Italian Instabile Orchestra' and Enrico Rava (most famous Italian jazzman) Electric Quintet. Giovanni has just been voted 'best Italian bass player' in the prestigious 'Musica Jazz' magazine 2007 year's end poll. With Technicolor Maier switches to electric bass, with a particular line-up with two electric keyboards (keyboards wizards Alfonso Santimone and Giorgio Pacorig) plus rhythm section (Maier plus drums rising star Zeno De Rossi). On 'A Turtle Soup' the sounds are intriguing, intentionally vintage and modern at the same time. Square and precise grooves dominate puttin' jazz under a powerful rock feeling. Ethereal and fascinating textures alternate with hypnotic drums and bass, and the keys have an infected feel in their aggressive and oblique improvisations. 'Featuring Marc Ribot' add to the 'Soup' the unrestrainable guitars of the great Marc Ribot and LSRecords Simone Massaron, eclectic musician at his ease with different genres. The keyboards move towards the background, setting the base for predominant guitars that unleash cutting tones, distorted and acid. A new psychedelic rock, lyrical and angular, ironic and radical, emerges and rages in Maier compositions and over the collective improvised tracks. Marc Ribot is all over, with his unique voice, his playing loose and strong, rid of any rules and provocative. REVIEWS: Italian Giovanni Maier proves that everything old can be new (meaning fresh) again. The conservatory trained bassist has been a member of the Italian Instabile Orchestra, The Enten Eller project, and the bands of Enrico Rava and Stefano Battaglia. This two-disc release finds Maier's quartet of two electric keyboards Alfonso Santimone and Giorgio Pacorig and drummer Zeno de Rossi with Maier playing electric bass and some cello, augmented by two electric guitars. Maier's quartet Turtle Soup immediately reminds you of the seminal fusion band Weather Report. The keyboard work is a gripping tribute to Joe Zawinul, drawing from the unique electricity and clean sound of the master. Listeners may find Maier's bass to be more Victor Bailey than Jaco Pastorious and drummer de Rossi reminds you of Omar Hakim rather than Peter Erskine, but classic WP is ever present. The quartet disc opens with a lengthy meditative piece that picks up pace by the locomotion of Maier's bass interaction with the drummer. Soon the probing stabs of the keyboards introduce the identity of this band and it's vintage vibe. They take you back to a time before jam bands, when the rock component of fusion didn't automatically subtract musicianship. The softer and funkier "San Giovanni" follows, but there's also the burning rock'd-out "Grandi Speranze," the mind bending "Prometeus" and the progressively wild "One Long Song." Like his previous work in the band Enten Eller, Maier's music morphs and awakens when guest artists collaborate. Here the band is supplemented by two eclectic guitarists, Marc Ribot and Simone Massaron. The lesser known of the two, Massaron can be heard on Tiziano Tononi's Peace Warriors: Forgotten Children (Black Saint,2007) a tribute to Ornette Coleman and his own Breaking News (Long Song,2005) with Elliott Sharp. The duo of guitars produces plenty of shred (as can be expected) and distortion heard on the freely improvised piece "FIFF." This pairing also yields a calmer sound on "This Is My Voice," similar to Ribot's playing with his Los Cubano Postizos band. With the influence of Maier's electricity, the writing gives you the fusion rocking tracks "'Inafferrabile Fascino Dell'," Incompletezza," and "Miss T." Here, Massaron and Ribot go toe-to-toe unfurling references to Jeff Beck and Mike Stern. And while kicking out the jams might pacify the riotous fan, the more experimental "Manarola Song" with it's herky-jerky approach or the bluesy "Old File" with it's slow building tension and energy are tracks that leave lasting impressions. (Mark Corroto/AllAboutJazz.com) It never ceases to amaze how many under-recognized treasures we get here every week from around the world. This is the fourth disc we've gotten from the great little Italian label, Long Song, and each one has been a gem. How can you go wrong with the likes of Nels Cline & Elliott Sharp and the swell Amendola/Goldberg/Hoof plays Monk trio?!? The first Long Song disc featured Nels Cline & Simone Massaron on guitars and Giovanni Maier on bass with Daniele Cavallanti as the leader on saxes. For this incredible double disc, Giovanni Maier is the leader with the burning guitars of Marc Ribot & Simone Massaron. Plus our old pal, Zeno De Rossi, who can be found on many discs on the El Gallo Rojo label is on drums. The first disc features both guitarists and two fine keyboard players. Bassist, Giovanni, wrote all but two of the pieces. 'Segovia' bristles with some sly organ, electric piano and bent, burning guitar(s)! Both keyboardists play Rhodes electric pianos, various organs and other keyboards, and a swell job of creating various moods and textures for the guitarists to solo upon. 'This is My Voice' is a spacious, laid-back piece for that mysterious Ribot suspense twang that Marc does so well with eerie echoes of keyboard waves floating in the mist. The band kicks in for 'L'Inaferrabile FascinoŠ,' which as an infectious melody and layers of rocking guitars and keyboards. 'FIFF' is one of the two completely improvised pieces and it works so well since each musician listens well and contributes to the layers on inter-connected lines. This music is a unique rock/jazz hybrid that is difficult to pigeonhole, yet remains intense and creative and focused throughout. 'Old File' features some superb electric bass at the center of a Quicksilver-like spaghetti western guitar jam. Downtown guitar hero, Marc Ribot, takes a number of great solos here, showing how there is just no stopping him when he wants to go for the gusto. His solo on 'Old File' is just jaw droppingly incredible! Giovanni's songs are also consistently memorable and remind me of the some of the better bands from the early 70's, when players still combined various genres without regard to established formulas. - BLG (Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery)
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