Eyal Hareuveni, Salt Peanuts (29/07/2023)
The Italian-Belgian-Dutch-German quintet ALIGAGA was born in 2014 «within the womb of mother art where communication, tribal friendship, respect, emotions and integration». The musicians of this band once shared a flat in Maastricht and met after music class to jam and create inspiring new music. Music Might Help is a double album and already the fifth one of this band and is structured like a musical puzzle. It blooms into a cinematographic arborescence sparkling with spontaneity, voices, pulsing energies, mystery, colors and creativity.

ALIGAGA tells an engaging and colorful, energetic and sometimes even psychedelic or magic realism story – written by tenor sax player Joos Vandueren with music by double bass player Federco Corsini, who also did the artwork – about #a clown called Seyya. She was distant but had a warm heart. Her father, Koko, was also a clown. Her mother had left the circus not long after Seyya was born, Why? a conundrum, the only knowledge she had of her mother’s existence is that she became the owner of a world record; the longest time anyone kept their eyelids open, submerged in saltwater». ALIGAGA presents this story as a jazz plus pop, rock n’ roll and some trip-hop pastiche, with many detours – and guests – that add more nuances to the adventurous and wild story.

But ALIGAGA knows how to sketch such a complex and dramatic story, with perfect doses of urgency, maturity and musical risk-taking, and, obviously, irresistible and seductive melodies and jubilant emotionality, as Guy Peters mentions in his liner notes. The story is narrated by Simon Vandueren and his brothers Theun and Joos and ALIGAGA in its own peculiar way adapts the individual, determined personality of Seyya. «I do what I do, not to be popular, I do it because I want to connect with everything and everyone, on this living plane. by asking questions». And, needless to add, the music of ALIGAGA certainly helps.

Guy Peters, Jazzandmo (17/05/2023)
De bende valt met een stevige bominslag in huis en wat volgt is eigenlijk al net zo verrassend. Helemaal in de geest en sfeer van de uitbundige hoes (van de hand van bandleider/bassist Federico Corsini) gaat het Brussels-Kopenhaagse sextet op wandeling door een kleurrijk muzikaal universum waarin potige riffs, kloeke interactie en een zak vol rotaanstekelijke thema's voortdurend op elkaar inwerken. Het herinnert door die dubbele saxlinie hier en daar misschien wat aan Human Feel of het speelse van The Lounge Lizards, maar daar blijft het niet bij.

'Hurrycane' start als een brokje jazzy triphop met gastzangeres, maar grijpt je verderop bij de lurven met verrassend pakkende samenzang, 'Summer Drummer' is het perfecte evenwicht van punkenergie en jazzgulheid, 'Seyya' vouwt open tot een grandioos brokje cinema. Daartussen: klinkende uitweidingen en krappe wendingen, vol boude accenten, uitgelaten humor en steeds weer die oorwurmen op het raakvlak tussen postbop, free en pop. En dan besloten ze ook nog om de muziek in een raamvertelling/hoorspel te stoppen. Die getuigt van evenveel verbeelding, al zal je vooral teruggrijpen naar het album voor de muziek. Wie enkel de muziek wil, koopt best de lp. En pik ze live mee (op 29.05 tijdens het Citadelic Festival, bijvoorbeeld), want dan komen de kleuren en ideeën helemaal tot hun recht. Doen!

Dave Sumner, The Best Jazz on Bandcamp: April 2023 (27/04/2023)
There’s a theatrical flair to Music Might Help. It’s bombastic in attitude, episodic in nature, plus delivers a little storytime narration to accompany its wild sonic imagery. Melodies are malleable, and vivid. The tempos have a predilection for obliterating the path ahead, but prove equally capable of bursts of witty repartee. The sextet Aligaga (plus guests) offer up an album sure to draw a smile, even as it generates more than its share of intrigue.

Johan Meurisse, Musiczine (25/03/2023)
The crashing entrance of “Trojan Alligator” immediately tells you ALIGAGA has a story to tell and that they’re eager to share it. It’s a colorful, energetic sound, like a full-on fanfare, with the propulsive bass of Federico Corsini, crisp rhythms of Daniel Jonkers, driving piano of Leonard Steigerswald and the dual sax attack of Jon Sensmeier (alto) and Joos Vandueren (tenor) that is harmonious and exciting as hell. It’s jazz with a rock-ish panache, full of small detours, swirling horns, start/stop-dynamics and some theatrics. It’s a fine business card for this Italian-Belgian-Dutch-German quintet that shares an obvious love for freedom, adventure and some craziness.

ALIGAGA sounds like a band making its debut. Not because of a lack of maturity, but because the music is daring, fresh and hungry like that of a band that has nothing to lose and everything to prove. Actually, Music Might Help is already their fifth album, which is obvious from the way these musicians and guests are perfectly attuned to each other. They are free and flexible around each other, able to change course in the blink of an eye. Occasionally, they also verge closer to pop structures, especially when they also use vocals, like in “Hurrycane” (jazz-meets-triphop?) and the title song, which combine irresistible melodies, both vocal and instrumental, with a jubilant emotionality.

And there’s more. The hypnotizing evolution of “Untranslatable” employs a striking combination of tumbling piano accents and an ultra-tight twin sax attack, while “XIOIOIO” seems to reference Monk’s feinting “Evidence” with a bluesy, slightly tipsy swing of the hips that perhaps reminds you of the magnificent Lounge Lizards. “Summer Drummer” charges with an almost punk-like fierceness, and when former member Taejung Kim returns to add some scratchy guitar in “Chicho Panino (The Return Of The King)”, it’s the start of another tightly executed gem that paves the way for the explorative ballad “Il Mare”, featuring the seductive vocals of Vanesa Diaz Gil.

Music Might Help is a colorful feast of collective creativity. What in the hands of lesser bands could come off as an incoherent statement, is turned into an asset in this case. ALIGAGA sounds like a truly international band, merging styles and ideas with a democratic approach that triggers the imagination and gets better with each successive listen. And if that weren’t already enough to satisfy hungry ears, the cd version adds narrations by Simon Vandueren and his brothers Theun and Joos (plus band improvisations) that enter the realm of magic realism, about a clown called Seyya, “...who created and embodied a new role, a new character and a new persona every next day.” An ideal match for the delightfully shape-shifting music of ALIGAGA.






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