Contagio Musiche dai porti dell’Adriatico
Full Price (53 mins)
Italian brass music has been a revelation over the past few years: a dramatic Sicilian sound personified by groups like Banda Ionica; the ska-jazz fire of trumpeter Roy Pacci; and the excellent Circo Cabaret Inferno compilations by top local world music label Felmay. So it was with some expectation that I put this one into the CD player: sadly there is no press release or advance information about the band, but happily the music does the talking more than eloquently. The band call the album ‘a hypothetical voyage over Adriatic sea harbours’: with the amount of sounds and influences they try to cram in here, captain Claudio Prima on accordion and vocals certainly has his work cut out keeping a steady ship. But keep it he does: this is one of those projects that really shouldn’t work, but for some reason just does – from the slow, drunken klezmer inflections of ‘Tourbanda’ to the funky snare-led Cretan song ‘To Ghaisemi’ to the full-on Roma style dance party Albanian traditional tune ‘Lake Populake’. Instrumentally the band are spot on: first mate Redi Hasa on cello stands out in particular for his gorgeous, snaking supporting melodies that import a more Arabic feel on occasion, and ex-Kocani Orkestar lead man Naat Veliov is on hand to add some sublime trumpet solos. Occasional unnecessary avant-jazz meanderings keep the album one star away from all five – but overall this is a first rate, carefully crafted record jam-packed with tasty Mediterranean morsels.