Alessio Cazzetta Guitar, Composition
David Binney Saxophone
Fernando Brox Flute
Iannis Obiols Piano
Kuba Dworak Double Bass
Iago Fernandez Drums
Mixed by Chris Allen at Sear Sound Studios NYC
Mastered by Nate Wood at Kerseboom Mastering NYC
Recorded at Jazzcampus Basel by Daniel Somaroo
"Dune" sound design and guitar edits by Jaka Arh
Produced by Alessio Cazzetta
Photography and Artwork by Maria Jarzyna
Release date: tba
The tone makes the music, it is so aptly said, and most of the time this is true. In special cases, however, it is the sound that has quite a decisive influence on the tone. "Love, Death & The Eternal Blues", the new album by Basel-based guitarist Alessio Cazzetta, captivates with its sound from the very first moment. Like a tornado, the opener "58" approaches the ear from the acoustic horizon, becoming more and more vehement until it rises to absolute intensity and seems to sweep everything away. This equally enigmatic and profound force continues over the following seven tracks with unbridled furioso, even in balladic moments.
The sound on Cazzetta's album evokes memories of great power records of the 1970s, but also of newer formations like Tigran Hamasyan's trio, Aaron Parks' Little Big or the bands of pianist Cameron Graves. With the latter, the guitarist shares a common passion. "My roots are partly in metal music," the man of conviction candidly confesses. "Therefore, I can identify very well with this electric sound. For some time now, the term Energy Trap has been circulating. You can write what you want, but ultimately it comes down to capturing the energy in the joint implementation. It's a matter of creating the conditions for that."
Capturing energy, of course, only works if you also let it go again. This dualism results in a constant interplay of friction and release. Cazzetta Band functions in very different ways like a transformer, a sound transducer. Sometimes it is powerful jazz rock, sometimes the rush of improvisations is reminiscent of the best moments of free jazz, in still other moments it is very precisely worked out structures whose complexity approaches classical music. "Love, Death & The Eternal Blues" is made of one piece, but at the same time it is as rich in variation as a mountain which, although it has a uniform silhouette when viewed from a distance, one passes through a wide variety of shapes and vegetation zones on its immediate ascent.
The crucial prerequisite for this high energy level is, of course, the band. Cazzetta has a knack for assembling a team from different contexts that intuitively masters a variety of game-changing situations. He is not only concerned with virtuoso skill and conceptual spontaneity, but even more with the emotional devotion of all involved. In his quintet, individual voices and playing styles, as well as different national and cultural backgrounds, come to the fore. On saxophone is the American Dave Binney, on piano the Spaniard Iannis Obiols, on bass the Pole Kuba Dvorak and on drums the Spaniard Iago Fernandez. Cazzetta himself has dual Italian-South African roots. In the song "Vast Expanse" the Spaniard Fernando Brox also plays a flute solo. This intercultural tension results in an almost unlimited global access to the songs, which makes the instrumental origin of individual impulses in the overall sound sometimes completely forgotten. "For me, the question is always," says Cazzetta, "how far I can explore the possibilities of such a lineup and let the spectrum of the individual instruments merge in a kind of role reversal."
For all the different timbres of the individual songs, they are united by their immense harmonic depth. The arrangements are infused with a kind of dark transparency that offers deep insights but rarely complete vistas. The quintet's complexity releases a mystique in which it is no longer the individual moment that matters at all, but the totality of voices, which in turn triggers completely different associations in many moments. It is as if one would climb into a cave, whose walls of stone one suspects, but in whose imagined vastness all imaginable chimeras seem to lurk.
There is a reason for these audible and tangible abysses. Alessio Cazzetta and his band get along without any package insert. The music is what it is, straight out, without frills. It needs no explanations or apologies, but simply wants to be heard. Cazzetta says what he has to say. All five musicians jump into this sonic adventure together and allow what wants to happen in each case. The complexity of the individual tracks is never in the foreground, but serves without exception to make the overall package easy to listen to. While it is 100 percent jazz, it is just as intimately aimed at listeners who have had no previous experience with jazz. Any metal, alternative or prog fan can find themselves in the fascinating labyrinth of Cazzetta's sonic catacombs just as much as die-hard jazz lovers. "For me, this music is a return to my own beginnings. A lot of decisions are made subconsciously. A melody or an impulse pops up in my head that I can't even tell where it comes from. There are many levels playing within me that I want to explore. These themes can be so powerful, but they always
have a meditative effect on me. Even though my music is often complex, it must always remain organic."
Alessio Cazzetta's "Love, Death & The Eternal Blues" defies almost any comparison. The guitarist and his quintet have succeeded in creating a unitary galaxy, a music of the spheres whose central star may be jazz, but whose planets and satellites circle in the orbits of heavy metal, classical music, blues and prog rock. A universal album for universal spirits!