Exposé Online banner

Claudio Scolari Project — Upside Down
(Bandcamp no#, 2019, CD / DL)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2020-05-14

Upside Down Cover art

One might be forgiven for never having heard of this group before. From Italy, their previous albums just listed the three members’ names, which became simplified on this, their fourth release as the band became a quartet with the addition of bassist Michele Cavalca, now called the Claudio Scolari Project. Claudio, who is of course the bandleader is also drummer #1 (yes, there are two) and does synth programming, whereas Daniele Cavalca is the second drummer, also doubling on live synths, piano and Fender Rhodes. Lastly, but not leastly, there is trumpet player Simone Scolari rounding out the quartet. Got that? Two Scolaris and two Cavalcas, but this group has an interesting sound really like no other. It’s certainly jazz, purely instrumental with lots of keyboards to brighten things up, plenty of room for improvisation, some electronics to give the sound a contemporary feel, and Simone’s trumpet there to remind you of the late, great Miles Davis, although he doesn’t seem to be there on all of the ten tracks; nonetheless, when he plays that connection is clearly made. “Upside Road” is a fine example of what can be done with two keyboards and two drum sets in a studio environment, although it makes me wonder how they pull it off live. “Bismantova Castle” clocks in at just over three minutes, but opens gently, effectively a long improvisational passage for bass and trumpet that is both stunning and beautiful, leading directly into the closer “Fast and Last” at just a little over a minute in length, shows what two drum kits side by side can accomplish. Among the longer cuts, “Underground Soul,” the title track, and “Twister” all feature a powerful sense of groove with prenty of improvisational free play, the latter being the strongest case for double drumming on the album. “And I’ll Make You Smile” offers a strong yet gentle nod to 70s fusion without even approaching the rock idiom. Throughout, these guys paint with a brilliant and tasty palette that will indeed make you smile.

Filed under: New releases, 2019 releases

Related artist(s): Claudio Scolari (Project)

More info

Latest news

Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more

Jorge Santana RIP – Jorge Santana, noted guitarist, leader of the band Malo and brother to Carlos Santan, died on May 14 at the age of 68. Jorge and Carlos worked together on a number of occasions, though Jorge's career was centered around Malo, solo work, and with Fania All-Stars. » Read more

Florian Schneider RIP – Florian Schneider, one of the founders of the pioneering electronic group Kraftwerk, has died at the age of 73. Co-founder Ralf Hütter announced that his bandmate had passed away from cancer after a brief illness. » Read more

Shindig Festival Goes Lock-Down – Here's what they're saying: It's A Happening Thing! The Shindig! Magazine Lockdown Festival. In our days of no large gatherings of people, maybe it's still possible to have a music festival. Shindig! Magazine is giving it a go with a multi-artist streaming extravaganza on Saturday April 25. » Read more

Bill Rieflin RIP – The sad news reaches us today of Bill Rieflin's death. Rieflin was best known as a drummer in bands ranging from post-punk to industrial to indie-rock to progressive rock, including work with The Blackouts, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Swans, Land, and King Crimson. Rieflin had been battling cancer for several years, and succumbed to it on March 24. He was 59. » Read more

Previously in Exposé...

Aquelarre - Brumas – South American reissues usually happen without too much fanfare, and such is the case with this, one of several albums by the 70s Argentinian band Aquelarre - yet this is one that definitely should...  (1994) » Read more

Listen & discover

Print issues