Artist: Erika Dagnino

Date of Release: 27/09/2013

Catalogue no: SLAMCD 546

Label: SLAM

Price: £9.99

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Track Listing









Erika Dagnino poetry, voice
Ras Moshe flute, soprano sax, tenor sax
Ken Filiano doublebass, effects
John Pietaro vibraphone, glockenspiel, snare drum, tom-tom, various bells, suspended cymbals, triangle, wind chimes, shaker

SLAM Productions is glad to present the bilingual poetry music work of the Erika Dagnino Quartet: the very talented Italian poet Dagnino together with three American New York City based amazing musicians Ras Moshe, Ken Filiano and John Pietaro.

Signs was recorded on 19th November 2012 at 17th Frost Theatre of the Arts in Brooklyn, and as the critic and journalist Marco Buttafuoco says in the liner notes: We may apply to this recording (which took place in New York and is soaked in New York) the words that Langston Hughes wrote in 1956: “Jazz seeps into words—spelled out words!”.




02/04/2014 Dustin Mallory

Many people know Erika Dagnino as a poet and a writer
But she is also recognised in many circles for he
Collaborations with musicians. ‘Signs’ is a collection of
well-crafted poems set to music that has plenty of room
for improvisation. The opening track “Preludio” begins
with a powerful blues feeling before slowly sliding into
esoteric , free improvisations. The musicians, and more
importantly their instrumentation, set the mood for Dagnino’s
voice. The pairing of her voice with vibraphone accompaniment
creates a nice, complimentary temperament before the other
instruments swarm in. The music runs the gamut from sassy
to serious and the instrumentalists’ accompaniment ranges
from the thunderous to hymn-like. Filiano’s technical strength
really shines through on “Quinta Improvvisazione” The listener
will get a larger benefit from Dagnino’s poems by reading
them in the liner notes as well as hearing them on the recording.
It is easy to be swept into the emotionally charged reading
of the poems and forget about the care she took in writing the
meaningful text.
Dustin Mallory. CadenCe Magazine | April May June 2014


03/02/2014 Ken Cheetham

This is a bilingual, music/poetry production in which the words are spoken first of all in Italian then narrated again in English, all in an air of free jazz dialogue. The words are leached into the music, just as the musical expression bleeds its way into the obdurate meaning of the words: the whole is disquieting. Even in the Italian, which I do not speak, a sense of their dark meaning is evoked by Erika's annunciation. Both words and music are free-flowing, yet grave and the balance between
the voice-sound and use of instruments is inspired and sublime.

Erika Dagnino uses her words and voice as elegant tools with which to interrelate with the musicians as an equal player in the quartet. This is not new, of course, words and music, words and jazz have long been seen together, but it seems less common (perhaps less acceptable) in Europe than in the States. I recall suggesting to friends that we go to a David Murray concert in Birmingham. They were not aware until we got to the theatre that he was to be accompanied by a poet and a whistler and they were horrified – until they heard the performance. Europeans' minimal interest in such forms of free expression in music and poetry possibly explains why such an obviously Italian Italian should find her artistic home in the US, where her work was received with much enthusiasm.

The artist contributes regularly to arts journals such as New York First Literary Review East, French/Italian Littéraire Quaderni d'Altri Tempi and Suona Sonda. She has worked with saxophonists Anthony Braxton and George Haslam and in New York with The Dissident Arts Orchestra and The Front Extreme Arts. Erika writes and recites protracted, ingenious and inventive passages, passionately describing emotions in words, which she declaims plainly and stridently in her beautiful voice.

The album is beautifully recorded and all participants deliver a commanding and haunted performance, an exceptionally gratifying experience. Given the nature of this artwork, I have heard nothing so good, so exciting, since Meredith Monk in the 70s and 80s.

Reviewed by Ken Cheetham http://jazzviewscdreviews.weebly.com/ Feb 2014



Italian poet Erika Dagnino runs a transatlantic- bilingual career. In Europe she works with avant-garde and free jazz musicians as Italian violinist Stefano Pastor. In the States she recorded with avant-garde composer and pianist Chris Brown and leads her own New-York based free jazz quartet comprised of reed player Ras Moshe, double bassist Ken Filiano and percussionistJohn Pietaro.
The setting of fiery free jazz fits the uncompromising temper of Dagnino's poetry and her bilingual delivery of lines, first in Italian, than reprised in English. As if only the intense and rough emotional turmoil of free jazz discourse and the musical flexibility of seasoned improvisers can envelope Dagnino's unsettling tales of fever, wounds and dry solitude. Her somber, almost militant reciting is part of the free-flowing musical texture, balancing the interplay, contributing to the suspense and leaving enough room for improvisations that add emotional depth to the suggestive spoken words.
Dagnino poems attempt to encompass momentary experiences of fleeting natural scenes, acknowledging its passing, the passing of time, of life. The chamber, free improvisation mirror these dark visions as both are sonic utterances of the moment. This bleak ambiance is best captured on "Terza Improvvisazione" and "Quinta Improvvisazione," with the recognition that: "Upward footprints of clouds. Downward wounded footprints...," abstracted with dissonant electronic sounds, fractured rhythms and tensed bowing on the double bass on the former, and a powerful, possessed performance on the latter by the quartet.
Dagnino poetry and music demand careful listening before the multifaceted images and sounds are grasped. Still this is a highly rewarding experience.
Track Listing: Preludio; Prima Improvvisazione; Seconda Improvvisazione; Terza Improvvisazione; Quarta Improvvisazione; Intermezzo; Quinta Improvvisazione; Improvvisazione Finale.
Personnel: Erika Dagnino: poetry, voice; Ras Moshe: flute, soprano sax, tenor sax; Ken Filiano: double bass, effects; John Pietaro: vibraphone, glockenspiel, snare drum, tom-tom, various bells, suspended cymbals, triangle, wind chimes, shaker.
EYAL HAREUVENI, 24/09/2013


09/09/2013 Bruce Lee Gallanter

Featuring Erika Dagnino on poetry & voice, Ras
Moshe on flute and saxes, John Pietaro on vibes
and percussion and Ken Filiano on double bass.
Italian poet and teacher, Erika Dagnino, has
played at DMG on several occasions and always
chooses good musicians to work with. The last
time she played here a few months ago she was
backed by Red Microphone, two of whom (Moshe &
Pietaro) are on this disc. This is a studio
recording and the sound is warm and
well-balanced. Whenever I've read Ms. Dagnino's
poetry printed on the pages of CD booklets, I am
impressed. The poems on this disc are printed in
both Italian and English. The first track is all
instrumental, free and mellow and sets the pace
of things to come. Ms. Dagnino recites her words
in Italian in a calm yet expressive voice. The
sound of her voice and the words blend well with
the somber, free-flowing and quietly unsettling
music. Even without knowing what the words mean,
a certain vibe is still apparent. In the second
half of this piece, Erika recites in English so I
have to listen more intently to hear what she is
describing. It is rare for a poet to recite in
two different languages within the same setting
but it works well here. I like the music here
since the balance and choice of instruments
sounds carefully selected. The blend of tenor sax
or flute, plucked or bowed bass and vibes or
small percussion is consistently inspired and
never overdone. The balance between the spoken
word sections and instrumental passages is
superbly balanced giving us a chance to consider
the words more thoughtfully. There is a section
of "Terza" where the words and music are both
filled with suspense and mystery as if Erika is
describing a rather disturbing dream. There is
just enough breathing space here to allow us to
recover from the occasionally dark moments which
appear at unexpected intervals. - Bruce Lee
Gallanter, DMG


09/09/2013 Vittorio Lo Conte

L´arte poetica e quella musicale da tempo flirtano insieme con risultati spesso interessanti. Qualche volta è la poesia che subisce la trasformazione maggiore mutandosi nei versi di una pop song, oppure come qui, mantiene la propria identità ed i versi vengono recitati con ardore in mezzo alle improvvisazioni dei musicisti. Erika Dagnino non la scopriamo certo ora. La poetessa genovese da tempo scrive testi ricchi di immaginazione che raccontano di sensazioni in parole che si rincorrono a descrivere in modo inedito storie il cui svolgimento è imprevedibile. Ad accompagnarla in un club di New York ci sono tre improvvisatori: il sassofonista e flautista Ras Moshe,Ken Filiano al contrabbasso e il percussionista e vibrafonista John Pietaro. In Europa manca un interesse reale per queste forme di improvvisazione, versi e musica, rap e free, mentre in USA la sua poesia, recitata così appassionatamente in italiano ed in inglese ha incontrato subito l´interesse del pubblico e della viva comunità di musicisti che risiede a New York. Lei, sul palco, improvvisa dei versi mentra il tutto prende forma con assoli del sassofonista o concitati momenti collettivi. Il percussionista e vibrafonista (ha studiato con Karl Berger) è molto interessante a creare momenti liquidi in cui la musica scorre senza remore. Se il bop era stato la colonna sonora dei romanzi di Jack Kerouac qui è la Dagnino a dare espressione e direzione vocale a quella che è la musica di tre improvvisatori della big apple. L´improvvisazione finale chiude un disco in cui le arti letteraria e musicale trovano un punto di incontro perfetto, eco della contemporaneità. Un eco che si spera arrivi di rimbalzo anche in Italia.
Vittorio lo Conte http://www.musiczoom.it/?p=15381

The art of poetry and the music together for some time flirt with interesting results often. Sometimes it is the poetry that undergoes major transformation mutating in the verses of a pop song, or as here, retains its identity and the verses are recited with fervor in the midst of the musicians' improvisations. Erika Dagninonot find some time. The poet writes Genoese long imaginative texts that tell of feelings in words that run stories in new ways to describe the performance of which is unpredictable. To accompany her in a club in New York there are three improvisers: the saxophonist and flutist Ras Moshe , Ken Filiano on bass and percussionist and vibraphonist John Pietaro . Europe lacks a real interest in these forms of improvisation, poetry and music, rap and free, while in the USA his poem, recited so passionately in Italian and English met immediately the interest of the public and the living community of musicians who resides in New York.She, on the stage, sudden verses Mentra everything takes shape with the saxophonist's solos or excited collective moments. The percussionist and vibraphonist (he studied with Karl Berger) is very interesting to create moments liquids into which the music flows without hesitation. If the bop was the soundtrack of the novels of Jack Kerouac Dagnino here is to give expression and voice direction to that which is the music of three improvisers of the big apple. The final improvisation closes a record in which the literary arts and music are a perfect meeting point, echo the contemporary. An echo that will hopefully bounce arrivals in Italy.


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