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“Duets of a Fool”

Artist: Sebastiano Dessanay

Date of Release: 27/05/2016

Catalogue no: SLAMCD571

Label: SLAM

Price: £9.99

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Eleven duets swinging between improvisation and composition in Sebastiano Dessanay's new album.
The Sardinian double bassist has collected some recently recorded musical dialogues with important artists he came across with during his artistic career

If it is possibile to tell a story made of artistic stages, relationships and reference points through an album, then this is very evident in Duets Of A Fool, the new album by double bassist Sebastiano Dessanay, released by SLAM Productions label, the UK based label with which he has already released two other works. The eleven tracks are duets swinging between improvisation and composition, which explore, remember, celebrate and throw new ideas for the future. Recurring phrases, circular elements and great musicality permeate this album: "The duets are intentionally short", says the Sardinian Birmingham-based double bassist, "Although completely improvised, they tend to a form and to the recall of musical elements typical of written music".

All the ten artists that converse with him, one for each track, have been part of his artistic career. A conversation within himself is added: the two fools of the opening track are just two self-deprecating facets of the bassist, as in a monologue at the mirror. The artists featured in the album range from new generation talents such as the Italian trumpeter Fulvio Sigurtà to established names of the British free jazz scene such as Paul Dunmall and Mark Sanders. There are several artists from Sardinia, where Dessanay started as a bass player: pianist Sebastiano Meloni, who uses improvisation as his main artistic device, classical-contemporary guitar player Francesco Morittu and jazz pianist Augusto Pirodda, who recorded with Paul Motian e Gary Peacock. And the UK-based artists that have collaborated with Dessanay in the past few years: Scottish sax player Rachael Cohen, London Sinfonietta oboist Melinda Maxwell and clarinetist and songwriter Jack McNeill.

To bring them together was the natural evolution of some studio recording sessions with many of them. "I liked the idea of having a minimalist improvised album, with only two instruments per track", the bassist says, "so I started thinking who to invite. Then I started recording duets over the years. The thread was to create some timbral variety around the double bass, looking for diverse instruments. Some duets are single takes, while for others I have merged short takes into mini-suites."

As in his previous works, Dessanay is always searching for balance by displacing the elements into a perfect symmetry: while the opening and closing tracks refer to the fools, the track which breaks the work in two also breaks the sequence of instruments by using a poem by W.B. Yeats (recorded in 2015, the 150th anniversary from the poet's birth) read by composer and multi-instrumentalist Howard Skempton, also co-founder of the Scratch Orchestra.

Silvana Porcu

 

Reviews

 

01/08/2016 Ken Cheetham

The ten artists who collaborated with Dessanay in producing this album (the eleventh is himself on Track 1, Two Fools) have all been part of his musical biography. They include new arrivals on the improv scene yet reach back to Paul Dunmall and Mark Sanders. Two Fools owes its libretto to W.B. Yeats. Dessanay is deeply involved in performing and writing in many, diverse, artistic genres, from dance, film, opera, theatre and visual arts as well as music, including classical and contemporary, folk, jazz and rock.

The eleven pieces are all under four minutes long, two of them under two minutes. All are entirely improvised, though leaning towards a formula which reflects some of the fundamentals characteristic of written composition. The music on this album is a delight. There is an historical thread of recollection and investigation, research and rejoicing, and a dialogue which recognises that all is not yet revealed; the new is still to be learnt and revealed. Reviewed by Ken Cheetham http://www.jazzviews.net/sebastiano-dessanay---duets-of-a-fool.html

 

14/07/2016 Vittorio Lo Conte

Sulla Slam Production inglese trovano spazio anche dei progetti di musicisti italiani dedicati alle musiche più ardite, il più recente è quello del contrabbasssista, proveniente dalla Sardegna ma residnete in Ingliltera,Sebastiano Dessanay che si esibisce in una serie di duetti con musicisti inglesi ed italiani. L’idea gli è venuta praticando la sua musica con artisti di varia provenienza, così che alla fine ha optato per questo progetto dal tono minimalista, musica in duo con tanti musicisti a celebrare l’improvvisazione. Il brano che apre l’album è realizzato in overdubbing, dialogando con il suo contrabbasso. Seguono duetti con il sassofonista tenore Paul Dunmall, Duet No. 1 ed la sassofonista contralto Rachael Cohen su Duet No. 2, dei momenti piuttosto riflessivi. L’incontro dà frutti positivi per entrambi e le esecuzioni lasciano intravedere ulteriori sviluppi. Suite No. 1 è insieme al pianista Sebastiano Meloni, un musicista con cui collabora da anni, registrato in studio a Birmingham, mentre la breve Suite No. 2 è realizzata con il chitarrista Francesco Morittu. Al centro del disco un poema di William Butler Yeats recitato da Howard Skempton, Two Songs of a Fool. Seguono brani, nell’ordine, insieme a Augusto Piroddaal pianoforte, Melinda Maxwell all’oboe, un brano complesso in lo si fa suonare rispettivamente come uno strumento orientale e come un sax soprano, Mark Sanders alla batteria, Jack McNeill al clarinetto e Fulvio Sigurtàalla tromba. L’approccio minimalista al disco si è delineato negli anni, suonando e registrando insieme ai musicisti in questione, poi si la riuscita idea di mettere tutto insieme in un progetto che si rivela all’ascolto coerente, senza strappi di sorta da un brano all’altro. Più che un collage di brani improvvisati sembra un’opera scritta scegliendo i vari protagonisti da un momento all’altro, uniti dal contrabbasso del leader, vero protagonista delle incisioni.
Vittorio lo Conte, http://www.musiczoom.it/?p=25882#.V0LJ_JErK1t

Slam on Production English there is also space of Italian musicians projects dedicated to the most daring music, the most recent being that of contrabbasssista, from Sardinia but residnete in Ingliltera, Sebastiano Dessanay who performs in a series of duets with British and Italian musicians. The idea came to him practicing his music with artists from various sources, so that in the end opted for this project with a minimalist tone, music duo with many musicians to celebrate improvisation. The opening track of the album is made of overdubbing, conversing with his double bass. Follow duets with tenor saxophonist Paul Dunmall, Duet No. 1 and the alto saxophonist Rachael Cohen of Duet No. 2, of the moments rather reflective. The meeting gives positive results for both and executions glimpse further developments. Suite No. 1 with pianist Sebastiano Meloni, a musician with whom he collaborated for years, recorded in the studio in Birmingham, while the short-Suite No. 2 is made with guitarist Francesco Morittu. At the center of the disc a poem by William Butler Yeats played by Howard Skempton, Two Songs of a Fool. The following are excerpts, in order, along with Augusto Piroddaal piano, oboe Melinda Maxwell, a track complex you do respectively sound like an oriental instrument and as a soprano sax, Mark Sanders on drums, Jack McNeill on clarinet and Fulvio Sigurtàalla trumpet. The minimalist approach to the disc took shape over the years, playing and recording with musicians in question, then the successful idea of putting it all together in a project that proves consistent listening, without any tears by a song to ' other. More than a collage of improvised songs seems a work written by choosing the various protagonists at any moment, united by the leading bass, true protagonist of the incisions.

 

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