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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf



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TRIO DOLCE VITA

Amarcord

Jazzwerkstatt 082

 

 


1. Amarcord
2. Padrino
3. Cantilena
4. L'acrobata
5. Canto della Buranella
6. La Dolce Vita
7. Fellini's Waltz
8. La Strada
9. L'intermezzo della Mantide Religiosa

Claudio Puntin - Clarinet, bass clarinet, glockenspiel, toys, Hohner Organa 30
Jorg Brinkmann - Cello, electronics
Johannes Fink - Double bass

 

Trio Dolce Vita is actually from Germany, not Italy. Yet this tribute to the Italian composer Nino Rota is sincere in its light-hearted way. Nino wrote music for many films directed by Federico Fellini, as well as Visconti, Zeffirelli and Francis Ford Coppola.

Claudio Puntin is a clarinettist who studied classical music before graduating to jazz and working with such people as Hermeto Pascoal, Dave Douglas and Fred Frith. Here he takes Rota's compositions and transforms them into jazz with hints of the classics and lots of tongue-in-cheek humour. The combination of clarinet with cello and double bass may seem odd but it works remarkably well. For instance, in the title-track, Puntin's tender clarinet is backed by plucked cello and bass which add to the rhythmic impetus.

Padrino is the familar theme from The Godfather - here given a feeling of cod-tragedy mixed with spirited cheekiness, before breaking into party mood suggesting the frolics at a wedding. The next two tracks are from Nino Rota's Pieces for Children and they have a sweet naivety. The first is a slow innocent tune; the second is a cheery number which suggests the twirling of the acrobat in the title.

Canto della Buranella is from Fellini's 1976 movie Casanova, creating an air of mystery with unsettling electronic sounds backing plucked and bowed bass notes. It isn't jazz but it's very atmospheric. The trio picks its way warily through La Dolce Vita, with mournful clarinet and skittish cello. The overall feel of the track is very like that of some pieces by Jimmy Giuffre's trios. Fellini's Waltz gives the melody to the cello, while the double bass (as on most tracks) keeps the rhythm moving. La Strada is a mournful piece from the film of the same name, with Claudio Puntin's clarinet almost crying. At the start it resembles a conventional clarinet trio, but later it warms up with bass and clarinet solos. L'Intermezzo della Martide Religiosa is another tune from Casanova: moody and haunting.

This CD is fairly short (just over 45 minutes) and leaves you wanting more. You might call this "chamber jazz" (although it is not an out-and-out jazz album). Whatever category you supply, it is wonderfully entertaining and very well recorded.

Tony Augarde



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