Friday, 9 January 2015

Giuseppe Solinas Scerbo: D'Agaro - Mella - Rivagli Trio's Bangalore

Bangalore album cover by Giuseppe Solinas,  AKA Scerbo
It is with bubbling excitement that I introduce you to the artwork of Giuseppe Solinas under his moniker of Scerbo. His art graces the new album, Bangalore, from D'Agaro - Mella - Rivagli Trio on the New York label Ninety and Nine records. Released at the end of last year (03/11/2014) it is a musical encounter between three established musicians on the Italian jazz scene. There is an enthusiasm which straddles original compositions and those of Leadbelly, Charlie Mariano and south African sax player Sean Bergin. The spirit of improvisation and sense of adventure lives on through this album and its artist. 

The artist Scerbo was born in Biella, Piedmont on Valentines Day 1984 and has been active on the art scene since 2007. His route to art passed along the path of philosophy, which he studied at the Vercelli University. Since then he has exhibited in Turin, Ferrara, Cigliano and most recently Rome in 2014. The curator, critic and journalist Danilo Jon Scotta writes about Scerbo, "The use of colour remains the main protagonist in his work, it is an interpreter of a renewed awareness." (excuse my basic translation skills from Italian to English)

Courtesy of Scerbo
Colour and energy are the first impression of Scerbo work and it seems they sit well together with the music of D'Agaro - Mella - Rivagli. The original album cover image is titled Soffio (Breath) and the idea came to Scerbo while listening to the music in the winery where he works. There was still plenty of room for improvisation on the canvas on which it was created, an act which reflects the spirit of the music.

"I was inspired by the symmetry between environment and Trio. I tried to link the idea of warmth through my spontaneous use of red, and to the concept of improvisation with the free and gestural act of the graphite." Scerbo

Aldo Mella (left), Elio Rivagli (centre), Daniele D'Agaro (right)
The trio of musicians on Bangalore are Daniele D'Agaro (tenor sax, clarinet and Bass clarinet), Aldo Mella (double bass) and Elio Rivagli (drums). It was recorded at Sound Sistemi Studio (Santhià Italy) by Paolo Guercio in June 11th 2013.

The story starts with Aldo Mella who has been a stalwart of Turin's jazz scene since the 1980's. He earned his stripes in the same jazz hotbeds as Elio Rivagli, working together they became the 'go to' men in the studio as well as touring and recording with the best in Italian and international music. Although Daniele D'Agaro garnered critical acclaim in his native Italy with Best Reedman in consecutive years (2007 & 2008) it is his explosive time on the Amsterdam jazz scene which earns him the respect of jazz lovers throughout the world.
Courtesy of Scerbo
Aldo Mella explains what drew the trio to their preferred album cover image,
 "Those three chairs, which lodge in our imaginations, speak of the ancient and takes the listener to the magic world of India with colours that recall the earth. The two compositions that describe the atmosphere of the picture best are Bangalore and Haiti."
Listen to the title tune Bangalore and it makes it's entrance through a series of doorways, opening out onto a colourful tapestry of lanes and snaking corridors. It is playfully escapist with an energetic edge that relaxes into a colonial opulence. You feel it harks back to an era where what was said by a person was as important as what was left unsaid. There is a luxuriance and a beautiful simplicity that makes it a fertile bed for our imaginations.
Courtesy of Scerbo
Haiti in contrast has more of a rolling menace, it plays upon the listener's thoughts and fears. It is an oozing swamp of a tune, a bog which threatens to capture and possibly cut. There are beasts that lurk here in this viscous world, lumbering shapes that could be humorous if it weren't for the threat of their deadly intent. People inhabit the shadows too and keep out of your way, making you walk this composition alone.
You can find out more about the album and the D'Agaro - Mella - Rivagli Trio on the Ninety and Nine website -
Listen to the title track Bangalore below.

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