Actis Band: Allende (2006)
In addition to numerous solo gigs with various bands, Italian multi-reedist Carlo Actis Dato has been fronting this wily jazz-rock quintet for several years. And regardless of format, group size or style within the jazz idiom, his penchant for bravado and humor is unswerving. The band's in-your-face line of attack heralds a multifaceted approach to jazz-rock where thrusting rhythms supplement Dato's brazen soloing ventures.
Saxophonist Federico Marchesano is a rock-solid foil for Dato's renegade bass clarinet and baritone sax choruses. With asymmetrical parts funk, free-jazz and straightforward rock patterns, along with spacey EFX, the quintet generally soars skyward. However, the differentiator is Dato's injection of Italian folk and Mediterranean themes, which to some extent has become a staple of many Italian jazz artists. On "Sentiero del re, the rhythm section lays down a punchy ostinato groove for the soloists' pungent exchanges, neatly layered over the top. Here and throughout, guitarist Karsten Lipp turns up the heat with angular lines laced with rock star-like aplomb.
The band occasionally pursues blistering cosmic meltdowns through a hodgepodge of deconstructions. In other areas, the musicians temper the flow with affable motifs, spiced up with soft sax parts. In sum, Dato's affinity for combining musical shock therapy with gleeful overtones provides the knockout blow on Allende.
Track Listing: Allende; KrK; Sentiero del re; Noche de Fraga; Mock Democracy; Zorro; Bolivar; Kamakura; Sandokan; We are the UFO.
Personnel: Carlo Actis Dato: tenor & baritone saxophone, bass clarinet; Massimo Rossi: alto & soprano saxophone; Karsten Lipp: guitar; Federico Marchesano: electric bass; Dario Bruna: drums.