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CD: Notte, La (1961)
Review Rating:   Excellent
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January 31, 2011

Tracks / Album Length:

18 tracks / (55:39)



Giorgio Gaslini


Special Notes:

20-page booklet featuring liner notes and interview with Giorgio Gaslini / Limited to 500 copies.

Comments :    

Giorgio Gaslini’s music for Michelangelo Antonioni’s drama (and the composer’s first film score) is a great mix of the abstract, the impressionistic, and modern bop, and features music performed on piano (Gaslini), tenor sax (Eraldo Volante), bass (Alceo Guatelli), and drums (Ettore Ulivelli).

La Notte’s ‘natural’ sonic power is derived from source cues with very specific mood, tempo, and performance styles that easily convey sultry mystery (the slow blues “Vocci dal fiume”), action (the bopping “Ballo di Lidia), and sadness, with Gaslini’s solos revealing his interest in blending jazz, classical, and modernism. As a pianist, Gaslini is supremely elegant, and as a writer he tends to favour a marriage of modernism and blues which became less dominant in later scores such as Deep Red (1975)  and Rivelazioni di un maniaco sessuale al capo della squadra mobile (1972)

The cue styles generally hover around modern bop, and lengths vary from a few minutes to a chunkier 5 mins., but each comes to a complete end instead of the numerous fadeouts employed on scores like Herbie Hancock’s Blow-Up (1966), just as the musicians begin to find their groove.

Quartet Records’ CD features the original album’s pristine mono cues, plus bonus variations from more archival sources. (The tape source for “Salotto party” has a sudden warble, whereas a few cues have some noticeable hiss – both negligible to jazz connoisseurs familiar with CDs sourced from surviving acetates.) A 1996 Japanese CD gathered some of the bonus cuts in suite form, but the Quartet edition seems to offer some extra material. Even with theme variations, the CD offers a fairly smooth listening experience, and as a sampling of Gaslini’s talent, ought to push a few listeners into further examining his jazz output, particularly for small combo and solo piano.

Quartet’s production is first-rate, and the booklet includes a lengthy examination of the score, the film, and an interview with the composer.


© 2012 Mark R. Hasan

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