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Reviewers: Don Mather, Tony Augarde, Dick Stafford, John Eyles, Robert Gibson, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby



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ANTONIO FORCIONE QUARTET

In Concert

Naim NAIMDVD 100

 

 

 
1. Heart Beat
2. Tears of Joy
3. Attempo
4. African Dawn
5. Tatubatu
6. Sahara Rain
7. Night Passage
8. Funky
9. Indian Café
10. Tarantella
11. Maurizio’s Party
Bonus Track: Touch Wood
 

Antonio Forcione – Guitars, oudan
Jenny Adejayan - Cello
Adriano Adewale – Percussion, kubing
Nathan Thompson - Double bass, Tanzanian flute, alto flute, kalimba, kubing
 

From the very first number, you can tell you’re in the presence of a guitar virtuoso. Alone on the stage, the Italian guitarist Antonio Forcione coaxes an amazing range of sounds from his instrument: making the guitar sing, snap and echo; playing melodies with his left hand as well as his right; and adding percussive punctuation by striking the wooden body of the guitar.

The virtuosity continues with the arrival of the other members of the quartet. Nigerian cellist Jenny Adejayan plays the most complex pieces entirely without sheet music, while Adriano Adewale adds stimulating sounds from a battery of percussion instruments. For his feature Tatubatu, Adriano even uses a set of drainpipes cut to different lengths, which he plays by blowing down them and hitting them with flip-flops! The most exciting piece in a very exciting concert is the duet between Forcione and Adewale – the latter simply playing a tambourine, albeit amplified so as to let us hear the smallest tap. The interplay between the two is amusing as well as spellbinding.

The music mingles jazz with many kinds of world music, including flamenco, African and Latin-American rhythms. Antonio has been labelled "the Jimi Hendrix of the acoustic guitar" and he certainly makes the instrument speak in many innovative ways – although the instrument is amplified, so perhaps it is not truly "acoustic" – but this allows him to add even more effects to the amazing number of sounds he produces naturally. Mostly he plays guitars with nylon or steel strings, but for Indian Café he uses a fretless guitar called the oudan, with eight added sympathetic strings, designed to sound like the Middle Eastern oud.

The DVD records a concert last June at the Trinity Theatre in Tunbridge Wells, and the sound quality is excellent – although I wish the cameramen had focused on the really interesting parts instead of swooping indiscriminately from one shot to another. At one point I wanted to see what both of Forcione’s hands were doing but the camera only showed me the right hand. But the concert was obviously a happy affair – for Antonio’s pleasantly welcoming announcements and good humour, as well as the superb musicianship. A CD of the concert is also available, but this omits three of the dozen tracks on the DVD.

Recommended unreservedly.


Tony Augarde

 



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