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Live in Noci and Rive-de-Gier

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Album Review

The Italian Instabile Orchestra is a large ensemble, formed in 1990 by the trumpeter Pino Minafra, and Live in Noci was their first release. Drawing musicians from across several disparate disciplines, the group tends to travel between free jazz, Italian folk traditions, contemporary classical ideas, and general good-natured wackiness, in some sense the Southern European version of bands like Willem Breuker's Kollektief. The "kitchen sink" approach, while enjoyably dizzying at times, tends to work against cohesiveness in certain compositions and may aggravate the listener just settling into a particularly nice section. The opening track for instance, Paolo Damiani's "Detriti," has several lovely portions, any one of which might have been comfortably stretched into a separate piece instead of episodically placed back to back. Likewise, Eugenio Columbo's "Ippopatami" begins in a delightful rampage befitting its subject, but then veers off into a relatively standard free jazz blowing fest. In fairness, Minafra, in his "Noci...Strani Frutti No. 1," is able to bring enough out and out wackiness to make one toss any reservations aside and just go with the flow, and there are more than enough fine musicians in this band so that one can simply listen to appreciate their soloing art. But one has the impression of more potential here than realization, fun though the ride may be.


Formed: 1990

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '90s, '00s

The Italian Instabile Orchestra (IIO) is an 18-piece big band that includes some of Italy's finest free and avant-garde jazz musicians, including trumpeter Pino Minafra and saxophonists Eugenio Columbo, Gianluigi Trovesi, and Carlos Actis Dato; pianist/composer Giorgio Gaslini and bassist Bruno Tommaso were also early members. The orchestra was originally an ad hoc group organized in 1990 to play the Festival di Noci, an annual Italian jazz event, but Minafra decided to resuscitate it for the next...
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Live in Noci and Rive-de-Gier, Italian Instabile Orchestra
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