Tag Archives: Francesco Cusa

Gapplegate Music review by Grego Edwards

Jazz Gawronski – Jaruzelski’s Dream (CF 211)
A free alto-bass-drums trio come out of a Viennese studio with Jaruzelski’s Dream (Clean Feed 211). And what is the result? A long, most energetic set of improvisations with rock, swing and freetime flow. Franceso Cusa makes an impact with his energy drumming. Stefano Senni plies his bass with a sure sense of phrase and form. Piero Bittolo Bon often falls into repetitive phrases played with heat. That’s what it is about. Mr. Bon’s alto has insistency, consistency and focused variational persistency. It is his sense of structure that structures the freedom.

Now how he does that may lead some people to search for the emergency fire exit. But I suspect those sorts of people would not care for this music in any event.

It is singular, determined and overt in its overall thrust. It burns the candle at both ends and everywhere in the middle. It worries and exhausts melodic phrases and then just as willfully abandons them to move on to something new. And that’s what saves the music from itself, as it were. It harps on something and then moves on, never overstaying its welcome like an overly emphatic conversatonalist at a cocktail clatch. Bon makes his point emphatically and moves on to the next station of party goers before he makes himself a bore. That’s good.

This is music of interest. It is not typical of the free things out there right now. And it is controversial in how it goes about its freedom. Hey, why not shake things up a bit?
http://gapplegatemusicreview.blogspot.com/

Sentireascoltare review by Stefano Pifferi

Jazz Gawronski – Jaruzelski’s Dream (CF 211)L’immaginario iconografico di per sé dovrebbe bastare a rimandare ad una dimensione ludica e a un approccio non serioso alla materia del jazz. Moniker, titolo dell’album e dei 12 pezzi che compongono Jazz Gawronski sono calembour linguistici tra il surreale e il pastiche disseminati dal terzetto italiano per suggerire finalità e attitudine.

Non a caso composto da membri provenienti dai poli attrattivi più interessanti del (neo)jazz italiano – El Gallo Rojo e Improvvisatore Involontario – il progetto Jaruzelski’s Dream è l’esatta somma dei singoli elementi in gioco: una vulcanica eruzione di follia strumentale, giocosa attitudine demistificatoria, irregolarità avventurose e, paradossalmente, coesione interna rese con leggerezza e (auto)ironia.

Piero Bittolo Bon (sax alto, smartphone) e Stefano Senni (contrabbasso), entrambi da El Gallo Rojo, insieme al batterista extraordinaire Francesco Cusa (colonna portante di Improvvisatore Involontario) inanellano discorsi di jazz free-form in modalità first take attraversati da un senso del groove profondo e irresistibile: ritmico e forsennato, silente e sussurrato, l’avant-jazz inteso dai tre è pari alla attitudine iconoclasta e altamente ironica che li porta a firmare pezzi con titoli come The Mastella Variations, Zibibboniek, The Amazing Kaczinski Twins, Soulidarnosc.

Vere e proprie gioie per chi ascolta e l’ennesima dimostrazione dell’effervescenza del jazz informale e atipico che gira da tempo in Italia.
http://www.sentireascoltare.com/recensione/8440/jaruzelski-s-dream-jazz-gawronski.html

Jazz.pt review by José Pessoa

Jazz Gawronski – Jaruzelski’s Dream (CF 211)****1/2
A figura sombria e façanhuda na capa deste álbum (talvez a pior de sempre da Clean Feed) é a de Wojciech Jaruzelski, o último chefe de Estado comunista da Polónia. Em 1981, reprimiu o movimento Solidarnosc de Lech Walesa, a primeira central sindical independente do bloco soviético. Jaruzelski facilitou, contudo, a transição democrática da Polónia, ao aceitar, em 1989, a partilha do poder com a oposição, tendo-se afastado da vida pública no final de 1990. Apesar da pouca simpatia da personagem aludida, o trio Jaruzelski’s Dream apresenta-nos uma música alegre e intensa. Os temas são como que evocações satíricas do totalitarismo e a música produzida tem sempre um enorme sentido de urgência e de espontaneidade.
Estes músicos – a saber, Piero Bon, Stefano Senni e Francesco Cusa – destacam-se na efervescente cena da improvisação em Itália e praticam um free jazz ritmicamente rico, pujante, pleno de “groove” e imaginativo. Por vezes brindam-nos com referências melódicas explícitas, ora com comicidade, ora com uma energia esfusiante, que rapidamente submetem a profunda transformação. Disso é um notável exemplo a faixa “Sei Forte Papa”.
Piero usa o saxofone alto (também toca clarinete baixo e flauta) para produzir um discurso intenso, por vezes rugoso ou recorrendo ao altissimo, mas sempre poético e coerente, na tradição dos mais audazes improvisadores neste instrumento (Eric Dolphy, Ornette Coleman e Henry Threadgill). Stefano toca o contrabaixo com muita elegância e maestria, seja dedilhando-o ou utilizando o arco. Francesco é uma baterista virtuoso de enorme experiência, fornecendo ao grupo criatividade e solidez.
As faixas mais apelativas são “The Mastella Variations” e “Pimpin the Papamobile”, exemplos geniais do exercício da liberdade e do prazer na criação artística.

Free Jazz review by Paul Acquaro

Jaruzelski’s Dream – Jazz Gawronski (CF 211)*****
Any album with a cover of the last communist leader of Poland sporting a topiary hat is a promise. It’s a deal between the musicians and the listeners that they are in for something unexpected. And just from the first few seconds of “The Mastella Variations”, the promise is delivered.

Jaruzelki’s Dream by Jazz Gawronski is a thoroughly modern sax, bass and drum trio outing that matches an unapologetically free approach to some joyous music. Blending elements from the tradition of free jazz (“The Mastella Variation”) to rock (“Sei Forte Papa”), brief glimpses of punz-jazz (“Zibboniek”) and sparing elements of nu-jazz (“Pimpin’ The Papamobile”), their uncluttered focused approach to the music is refreshing, challenging and quite fun. Clever uses of dynamics and rhytmic devices shake up the tunes, keeping them from getting repetitive, and allowing each musician ample space to create.

Piero Bittolo Bon’s alto sax is bright and clear, his well articulated never-ending melodic lines present ideas upon ideas, often seizing upon one, turning it around and examining it thoroughly, before tweaking it and moving on. Bassist Stefano Senni and drummer Francesco Cusa’s accompaniment is sharp, and whether they are supporting or taking the lead, the interplay is tight and precise, sometimes grounding the sax, sometime antagonizing it, but always spurring it on.

A quick trip to the Clean Feed site revealed that the trio has quite a pedigree between them. Hailing from northern Italy, they have played individually with Anthony Braxton, Stefano Bollani, Tom Harrell, Eddie Henderson, Chris Speed, Tim Berne, Elliot Sharp, Paolo Fresu among many others.

If I were to compare the competence, energy and freshness of the album — and though they differ greatly in many ways too — I would think that perhaps Jon Irabagon’s recent “Foxy” is fair game. Like Irabagon’s album there is also an extended joke through the song titles and packaging. Though I’m not up enough on Eastern European history and culture to get what I have to assume are puns and plays on words, the albums humor and sarcasm comes through well enough in the songs. At the same time there is also great reverence and respect for the music, which makes for some good clean fun. For example, Polonium 210, a radioactive material first discovered in Poland, is used to title a sophisticated and melodic tune featuring outstanding bass and drum dialog.

This is album is a real treat, it’s accessible, melodic, energetic and demanding enough to keep you listening over and over again. This is my first five star rating.
http://freejazz-stef.blogspot.com/

Jazz Prospecting reviews by Tom Hull

Jaruzelski’s Dream: Jazz Gawronski (CF 211)Italian sax trio, with Piero Bittolo Bon on alto (and smartphone), Stefano Senni on bass, and Francesco Cusa on drums. Don’t know where they came from, what they’ve done in the past, or why they’re obsessed with all things Polish. I can begin to unravel such jokes as “Soulidarnosc” and “Mori Mari Curi” (the discoverer of radioactive elements like “Polonium” that killed her) but not “Swiatoslaw” or “Zibibboniek” or “Maria Goretti Contro Tutti.” Presumably the group name honors (if that’s the word) the last Communist dictator of Poland, Wojciech Witold Jaruzelski. Gawronski, however, appears to be an Italian politician, prominent in Berlusconi’s Forza Italia, first name Jas, easy enough to play off. Gruff, garulous free sax, with enough beat to keep it steady. For a while I thought “Sei Forte Papa” was “New York, New York.” I wouldn’t put anything past them. B+(***)

Billy Fox’s Blackbirds & Bullets: Dulces (CF 204)
Percussionist, credited only with maracas here, has two previous albums, The Kaidan Suite and Uncle Wiggly Suite, and a couple of side credits — e.g., worked with Bobby Sanabria. So how does a maracas player sustain interest? He recruits players I’ve barely (or never) heard of, spread out among two saxes, trumpet, keybs, a one-track violin guest, and gives them each a few minutes to stand up and out. Also does a superb job of working out horn charts for transition. B+(***)
http://www.tomhull.com/blog/archives/1567-Jazz-Prospecting-CG-26,-Part-3.html?PHPSESSID=6c92a8fbe0e7d78232edb35b59c888e8

Distrito Jazz review by I. Ortega

Jaruzelski’s Dream – Jazz Gawronski (CF 211)
Un grupo de italianos que pertenecen a la Italian Inestable Orchestra y que con su nombre intentan homenajear, o asi, al general Polaco Jaruzelski titulan su disco “Jazz Gawronski”.
Jazz de la última hornada italiana, jazz de forma libre con un acento maravilloso, tocado con técnica depurada e imaginación. Jazz hecho con el alma y las tripas.
El grupo lo componen Piero Bittolo Bon un digno heredero de saxofonistas de la talla de Eric Dolphy o Tim Berne, pasando a través de Ornette Coleman y Henry Threadgill. Bittolo está en la cima de sus habilidades y lo demuestra en este cd. Piero Bittolo ya se ha codeado tocando con gente de la talla de Anthony Braxton, Ernest Dawkins, Honsinger Tristán o Tacuma Jamaaladeen. El contrabajista es Stefano Senni, también miembro del Gallo Rojo y conocido en Italia por sus colaboraciones con Enrico Rava, Stefano Bollani, Daniele D’Agaro y Zeno de Rossi y también fogueado en la escena internacional con gente como Lee Konitz, Cedar Walton, George Cables o Anthony Coleman, por nombrar sólo algunos. Francesco Cusa es el batería de este trío. Fundador de Improvvisatore Involuntario ha tocado con casi todos desde Steve Lacy y Kenny Wheeler a Gianluca Petrella y Carlos “Zingaro”, incluyendo a Paolo Fresu, Tim Berne o Butch Morris.
Con estas bases ya puedes imaginar lo que te vas a encontrar en este disco: free jazz improvisado de mucha altura y consistencia.
Temas propios como los iniciales “The Mantella Variations” y “Swiatoslaw” pueden resultar un buen ejemplo del estilo de este grupo. Mas experimentales resultan “Pimpin’ the Papamobile”, el corto “Zibibboniek” o “The Amazing Kaczinski Twins” donde el preponderante papel de Piero Bittolo alcanza un gran nivel. La verdad es que todo el cedé parece una ‘suite’ continua dedicada a temas polacos donde personajes importantes como Madame Curie, Maria Gorretti, Juan Pablo II y su “papamóvil” o los gemelos Kaczinzki tienen su tema, también el sindicato “Solidarnosci” o el Polonio 210 se unen a esta fiesta de la improvisación con múltiples variantes donde la sorpresa te aguarda en cualquier surco.
Resumiendo un cd de free un jazz donde frescura y urgencia se den la mano y completan a partes iguales la grabación. 
 http://www.distritojazz.com/home/web.php?seccion=4&idAlbum=1262

Blow Up review by Enrico Bettinello