Tag Archives: Claudio Scolari

Claudio Scolari Project: Upside Down

The Claudio Scolari Project has released a new album in October 2019 and this band continues its journey in free and improvised music. The evolution of the band is obvious and the focus of the album is on live performance. Everything on the album was live improvised and recorded.

To have this full and balanced sound the band added a bass player and the line-up is now:

  • Claudio Scolari: Drum set 1, Synth Programming
  • Daniele Cavalca: Drum Set 2, Live Synths, Rhodes, Piano
  • Simone Scolari: Trumpet
  • Michele Cavalca: Electric Bass

The advantage of this line-up is evident and answers one of the question which many people might have asked: Is it possible to play the music live on stage? This is now clearly the case and the following video shows the band playing the song “Wired”:

The album starts with “Smoke in C Minor”, a song that features  Daniele Cavalca on piano. It has some typical elements of this band, the pulse comes from the drums (with some surprising breathing pauses) and the acoustic piano is spiced up by electronic sounds.

We hear the full band with bass and trumpet in “Underground Soul”. This song begins soft but steady with the piano introducing the main riff, the piano and trumpet hold a dialog which is joined by the bass. At around 5:00 min the steady pulse is opened by the drums and all musicians improvise freely. Daniele Cavalca returns to the main riff to end the song. Very impressive.

“Upside Road” is a dialog between drums and a funky Rhodes piano with some additional synthesizer elements.

In “And I’ll Make You Smile” the complete band returns. The main riff for this song is again kind of funky and either the rhythmic or the melodic pattern of this riff is kept throughout the song.

The title song “Upside Down” comes next. The drums groove in a classical swing style and after a lengthy introduction the piano introduces the main theme which is complemented with trumpet fills. Claudio Scolari keeps his steady pace and the other musicians have the space and freedom to improvise together.

“Twister” is drum duo piece which I was also hoping to hear once. Very sophisticated  playing by Claudio Scolari and Daniele Cavalca show the many sounds of two extended drum sets.

“Syrah Hangover” impresses with its beautiful harmonic structure. The melody comes from the trumpet this time and synthesizer sounds dominate the background. I like the synthetic sounds by Daniele Cavalca very much, in a way they sound not too digital, even a little bit old-fashioned.

“Wired” comes next and this song is definitely my favorite on the album. Some nice stereo effects in the introduction, a beautiful spacious motif from Simone Scolari on trumpet, a grooving bass and really pushing drums create an incredible intensity in this song. Very powerful.

“Bismantova Castle” is as an open dialog between Michele Cavalca on bass and Simone Scolari on trumpet. The trumpet sound has a lot of echo and is very spacious while the bass is rather direct without effects which gives this song its nice contrast.

The album ends with another drum duet called “Fast And Last” which is fast and furious and sounds to me like a spontaneous session which was recorded, a little bit like an unplugged encore but nevertheless sounding great.

The Claudio Scolari Project has reached another level of freedom with this album, it has found it’s own sound and style and it is now in a position to perform this music live. So I hope some festival organizers become aware of this incredible band and invite them. I would really love to see this band playing live.

And finally a playlist of this album on Spotify:

Claudio Scolari, Daniele Cavalca & Simone Scolari: Natural Impulse

natural-impulse-2

 

Another album that combines electronic and acoustic music comes from Italy, from drummer Claudio Scolari, multi-instrumentalist Daniele Cavalca and trumpet player Simone Scolari (he is Claudio’s son).

Their album “Natural Impulse” was released on January 26, 2018.

Claudio Scolari was educated as classical percussionist and works at the Conservatory of Caltanissetta in Sicily. 

The basic idea of the album is to compose in real time without any rules. Nevertheless the songs in the album have a strong structure and rich color, so it is a real pleasure to listen to the album. Every tune has it’s own mood, it’s own spirit, making the CD diversified and very entertaining.

10 songs are on the album with a total playtime of 62 minutes.

The opener “Unknown Destination” introduces the band: drums, trumpet, a piano that sounds a little bit honky-tonky and various synthesizer sounds. After that intro the song gets into its pulse, with  piano and trumpet as duellists.

The second tune “American Skyscrapers” is one of my favorite tunes on the album. Base of the song is a somehow familiar jazz harmonic structure and again a steady pulse from drums and bass. Daniele Cavalca on vibraphone adds the extra NYC-Jazz-touch here.

The next song is called “Chasing Inspiration” and is a lonesome trumpet in conversation with a synthesizer accompanied by two drum sets.

The fourth song is the title song of the album. The piano plays the main theme and solo backed up by drums and bass.

The next tune is called “Moon Mood” and is a big contrast to the spartan sound from before. The trumpet plays the melody and various synthesizer sounds support Simone Scolari. A slow riff by bass and drums build the fundament of the tune.

“Dear John” comes next. Again, the trumpet plays the melody with the support of a synthesizer pulse. The mood of this song is quite festive and ceremonial.

“Uptown Night Trip” starts very open with a Fender Rhodes piano, synthesizer and drums searching for the right direction for the night trip. Sometimes they find a place where to stay but the search continues throughout the song. A brillant abstract painting.

Song #8 is called “Insomnia” and continues where “Uptown Night Trip” ended, the search continues with the full ensemble in action: trumpet, vibraphone, piano, synthesizers, bass and drums. The trumpet manages sometimes to escape that dark feeling with beautiful high notes.

The next tune is called “Over The Horizon” and is another of my favorites on the album. Great synthesizer layer with the trumpet above and bass and drums supporting them.

The album finishes with the song “South Hemisphere” and it shows again all the different elements that make this album so pleasant: complex rhythmic structures, a great variety of sounds and a brillant trumpet above all that.

As a summary I have to say that this album is a perfect example of modern improvised music combining different elements from Jazz, classical and world music into one masterpiece. The album is not a conventional Jazz album but a journey to improvised music and into sound-painting. So, take your time to listen to the complete album, don’t rush through the songs and I hope you will find the same inspiration from this music as I did.

natural-impulse

If you want to know more about Claudio Scolari please take a look at his website:
www.claudioscolari.com

There is a nice interview with him on JazzBluesNews:
http://jazzbluesnews.space/2017/12/31/claudio-scolari/

And finally a playlist on iTunes: