Riccardo Luppi - tenor and soprano saxophone, flute and alto flute
Joe Fonda - double bass
Filippo Monico - drums

Recording: tracks 1-4 by Luca De Marinis,
                   “Live at C.I.Q. Milan” - 13 November 2019
                   tracks 5-8 by Riccardo Luppi - 12 November 2019 - Milan
Mixing & Mastering: Riccardo Luppi
Production: Riccardo Luppi & Rogé for el NEGOCITO Records
Cover Painting: oil on canvas, La Luce Del Sabato by Ariel Soulé, 2017
Photographs of musicians: Gianni Grossi
Lay-out Vinyl: Poppy Verstraete
Liner notes: Marcello Lorrai

Available on CD & Vinyl
release November 3, 2022

Filippo Monico, Riccardo Luppi registered at S.I.A.E.

 

(ENG)
In the early sixties, the more advanced Italian Jazz scene started to show a strong interest in expressing itself by getting away from the rules that had been ruling jazz up to the fifties: Italian Jazz has been inspired to follow this direction by the Afro-American Free Jazz, above all, but there have also been experiences that moved toward the “radical” improvisation that came up in Europe, even though, differently from other countries (Great Britain, Holland and both West and East Germany) in Italy musicians did not developed such a vast free music movement particularly characterised by such a peculiar European idiom.

All three musicians, Italians Riccardo Luppi and Filippo Monico, and American Joe Fonda, belong to that generation of musicians who started their careers in the seventies, and for whom the new free-music that came up in the preceding years had a strong influence, both on a strictly musical level as well as on both a cultural and emotional level.

Starting his career in 1976, saxophonist and flutist Riccardo Luppi has been part of some of the most advanced experiences in the Milanese (and Italian) jazz scenes like the Democratic Orchestra, the band Nexus and the Milano Music Collective, also collaborating with some of the most important Italian jazz musicians like Giorgio Gaslini, he has been leading combos and large ensembles, and established steady relationships with a number of European and American musicians.

In 1971, Filippo Monico has been a sort of an “enfant prodigé” in the avant-garde scene in Milano, making a debut at sixteen as drummer of the Gruppo Contemporaneo, a seminal and crucial band in the new Italian Free Jazz. In the later years Monico took part in two groups led by pianist Gaetano Liguori: Idea Trio, which became very popular in the next ten years, and the Collective Orchestra that brought together important musicians from both the Milanese and Roman scenes, though it did not last for long. In these last decades Monico has been dedicating himself mainly to the radical improvisation with both Italian and European musicians like French saxophone player Michel Doneda.

Born in Amsterdam, New York State, Joe Fonda is a double bass player who holds a high reputation in the avant garde scene. In Joe’s career the steady collaboration in the late 90s with Anthony Braxton stands out, but Fonda has been playing and recording with a great number of important musicians like Wadada Leo Smith, in the 80s, up to Oliver Lake and recently with pianist Satoko Fujii and Jaimoe Johanson, former Allman Brothers drummer. Starting from the 90s Fonda has often been leading or co-leading his bands with pianist Michael Jefry Stevens.

If for Luppi, Monico and Fonda the free music has been a founding step, and the music of the trio is free as much as in their individual freedom as well as in their interplay, their improvised music is extremely original, not relating to the classic free jazz aesthetic or to most typical idioms of European radical improvisation.

“We are interested to get to a point in which we don’t play in any particular style” says Monico; “Joe’s approach is interesting because he uses both jazz and folk elements in his playing, but using different fragments as part of an everchanging continuum: it’s the same type of thing that I like to do myself. Riccardo starts from a lyrical melody and he uses it to build an instant composition.”

The lack of forms or structures does not sound like free jazz or radical improvisation clichés, but nearer to a sort of “chamber music”, relaxed, cool, a kind of coolness which is emphasised by the Luppi’s strong melodic approach.

Nevertheless, Luppi points out “everyone in the Trio is completely himself, everyone has his own path, but even if it doesn’t come out in a clear and definite way, when we play together we feel that we have a common background as we all belong to the same generation, grew up listening to the same music and having similar experiences: it’s like having a deep communication based on something that we all know”.

Luppi’s approach to free improvisation is quite unusual: in fact, Luppi avoids improvising starting from a theme, or head, as well as a completely abstract improvisation: “At one point, I didn’t recognise myself in a way of improvising in a typical free style, with convulsions and paroxysms any more: but still wanting to improvise in a free way, what comes out are melodic elements. In the end, being European, and Italians in particular, melody is in our DNA. All musicians, when improvising, spontaneously play some phrases that belong to their background, that come both from their mental mechanisms and from some kind of “tactile memory” in the relationship with the instrument: I try to avoid patterns but to improvise creating melodies in the most random way possible. Even though not completely so, because some kind of repetition is necessary to give music a sense of instant composition.”

For all three musicians, what is particularly satisfying with this Trio is due to the common listening to each other, to being able to free themselves from schemes and influences, and to getting away from their egos, above all, avoiding the usual “soloist plus rhythm section” dynamics: “except at some moments during which Riccardo is particularly melodic” says Monico, “and we feel that the melody must develop.”

--- Marcello Lorrai

 

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Vinyl

side A

1. Take The Journey
R. Luppi / J. Fonda / F. Monico - 12:38

2. Leave It On The Left Side (1st part)
R. Luppi / J. Fonda / F. Monico - 5:01

side B
1. Leave It On The Left Side (2nd part)
R. Luppi / J. Fonda / F. Monico - 6:34

2. Percussion Fusion
R. Luppi / J. Fonda / F. Monico - 8:42

3. No Rush
R. Luppi / J. Fonda / F. Monico - 2:35

total time - ..:..
extra download tracks:
Intersection, Wisdom, As The Wind Blows, Tahoe Tahoe
eNR104 © 2022

 

CD

1. Take The Journey
R. Luppi / J. Fonda / F. Monico - 12:38

2. Leave It On The Left Side
R. Luppi / J. Fonda / F. Monico - 11:34

3. Percussion Fusion
R. Luppi / J. Fonda / F. Monico - 8:42

4. No Rush
R. Luppi / J. Fonda / F. Monico - 2:35

5. Intersection
R. Luppi / J. Fonda / F. Monico - 12:49

6. Wisdom
R. Luppi / J. Fonda / F. Monico - 3:42

7. As The Wind Blows
R. Luppi / J. Fonda / F. Monico - 2:55

8. Tahoe Tahoe
R. Luppi / J. Fonda / F. Monico - 5:00

total time - ..:..
eNR104 © 2022

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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