Gianni Gebbia Trio – Outland


Saxophonist and composer Gianni Gebbia is deeply influenced by Ornette Coleman and the late Jim Pepper. His trio with drummer Vittorio Villa and bassist Lelio Giannetto — and guest Massimo Simonine helping out on electronics and turntables and keyboards — delves deeply into the simple repetitive melodies Coleman is so famous for, and turns them into epics. This is a music based in the most basic elements of harmonic construction, where a melody can be created and deconstructed while it continues to play through the listener’s mind as the improvisation moves over it. It is never totally absent in the ensemble’s playing, such as in the amazing “Verso Kamarina,” with either Gebbia or Villa carrying the essence of that melody through a blowing fest that is adorned with all manner of electronic trickery by Simonine. Elsewhere, on “Immer Gerardeaus,” the lyric sensibility seems absent amid the wooly free jazz improvising, but, nonetheless, it is there, somewhere between horn and bass, spitting itself out in bits and pieces like jagged shards of pretty glass. The title track (dedicated to cartoonist Berke Breathed) is a shambolic exploration of a high register line that is adorned by percussion and a droning bassline. Here, too, the melody is in the line itself that seems to come from a non-Western source. Finally, Gebbia’s true genius comes to play in “Shamal,” a monolithic work that crosses jazz boundaries into North African street music, Middle Eastern chant, and vanguard lyricism รก la Don Cherry’s MU albums. The interplay between the sampled voices and Gebbia’s alto is unsettling it’s so close, and the droning rhythms of Villa and Giannetto that are guided through the knots by Simonine’s electric piano are truly hypnotic. There is no resolution in this piece as it moves through you rather than around you; it encapsulates everything within itself and then just buries it whole. This is in its own way a very confrontational, yet very listenable, work of Italian vanguard jazz. Amazing.


01. Verso Kamarina
02. Immer Geradeaus
03. Zero In Geometria
04. Outland
05. Shamal

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