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Claudio Scolari Project — Intermission
(Bandcamp Principal Records no#, 2023, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2023-08-06

Intermission Cover art

We’ve done this three times before (Upside Down, 2019, Cosmology, 2021, and Don’t Know, 2022) and the band had a few recordings before that — before I was even aware of their existence; Intermission is the band’s seventh album, and in some ways it is much like those that came before it, and yet in other ways very different. The quartet remains the same: Claudio Scolari plays drum kit number one, synth programming, Daniele Cavalca plays drum kit number two, live synths, Rhodes and piano, with additional members Simone Scolari on trumpet, and Michele Cavalca on electric bass, all driving a freewheeling jazz sound full of rich sonorities, brisk cadences, and periodic moments of chaos. One might be tempted to say free jazz, but most of what’s here seems to be composed to a degree, and then followed on with spirited improvisational arrangements. And the previous sentence would easily apply to any of the group’s previous releases (at least the ones that I’ve heard), so what’s different about this one? For starters this is a very long album, double LP length, and it’s also one that often finds itself in acoustic territories, with less reliance on electronics this time, a change that was intentional in order to bring the group back closer to their beginnings. Keep in mind this is a group with zero guitars, the two drummers, both playing pretty much standard drum kits, and a single bassist. The trumpet offers the link to a more traditional jazz sound, and that formula works out splendidly, a little more sparse than earlier efforts though the two-drum-kit arrangement can lean toward chaos at times when it’s deployed, though fortunately most of the album’s thirteen tracks don’t go there, staying with one drummer and one keyboardist, but the album’s sheer length can make it an endurance test for almost any listener — it’ll take a number of passes through these woods to find the path of their groove, but it certainly will reveal itself in due time, one just needs to be patient and follow. With that said, Intermission might well be the group’s best effort yet. 

Filed under: New releases, 2023 releases

Related artist(s): Claudio Scolari (Project)

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