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Take Root Among the Stars

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Point of Departure October 2020

Instrument inventor Phil Cohran composed “Frankiphone Blues” to be a played on a frankiphone, his electrically amplified kalimba. In Roots Magic’s version, Franceso Lo Cscio’s vibes sound very much like a frankiphone. Mainly, what makes this track special is Eugenio Columbo flutter-tonguing a wow of a flute solo that glides over the dancing Cohran-band-like rhythm section. The other piece that stays close to the feeling of the original is “Still Screaming for Charles Tyler,” merry energy music with two early folk-like Tyler themes.

For three-fourths of this fine CD, Roots Magic is clarinetist/bass clarinetist Alberto Popolla, alto/baritone saxist Errico De Fabritis, bassist Gianfranco Tedeschi, and percussionist Fabrizio Spera. Their repertoire comes from very early country bluesmen and the first two generations of outside players. Indeed, they capture the composers’ original feelings in part in most tracks before leaping into their unique reinterpretations. In 1969, Maurice McIntyre recorded “Humility in the Light of the Creator” as a beautiful, stark Appalachian ballad. Roots Magic turns that feeling into a drama that swells to a big climax. BTW: most musicians who play this song call it by its original title. The sloppy designer of the original Delmark LP cover mistitled the album with “of Creator.” Most annoyingly, Delmark’s CD reissue now has also retitled the song with “of Creator,” and this album repeats the blunder – not Roots Magic’s fault, of course.

Sun Ra’s ballad “When There Is No Sun” becomes a slow funky blues plus some screaming woodwinds in Roots Magic’s drastic revision. Zither strums, gong, rattling little percussion, and clarinet turn John Carter’s “Karen on Monday” into a pastoral free improvisation worthy of the early Art Ensemble. Ornette Coleman’s “A Girl Named Rainbow” is the album’s ballad, with bass and drums rising and falling, rising and falling behind the horns’ fugue. Skip James’ 1931 “Devil Got My Woman” turns into some program music with a virtuoso bass solo to start, dark and heavy slow drums behind the theme, then hellish bass clarinet screams over the threats of the baritone; drums play a death march behind the out theme. And Eddie Harris’s “Listen Here” provides a three-note alto vamp for the slow sections of Charlie Patton’s 1929 “Mean Black Cat Blues”; the passage of free horns wailing over deep toms is especially good.

While each of the four players would have sounded thoroughly at home in the 1960s, this is very much a 21st Century band. You can tell by the music’s refinement, including beautiful playing, the improvisers are masterful. Each arrangement is stuffed with changing sounds, tempos, meters, tonality – which clever guys wrote which charts? The truth is, Roots Magic is a free-jazz, outside-jazz, new-thing revival band, and revivalism per se can be bad or a very good thing – for example, note today’s respect for the forgotten 1920s composer Tiny Parham, “Chicago’s Ellington,” among trad revivalists. So thanks, Roots Magic, for bringing back these songs from my younger days and playing them with such joy. And keep on keeping on.
John Litweiler

Rootstime (Belgium) October 2020

Het Italiaanse quartet/quintet Roots Magic is een apart fenomeen omdat hun uitgangspunt is het bewerken van de muziek van blueshelden uit de jaren ’20 en ’30, zoals Charlie Patton, Blind Willie Johnson, Skip James en Geeshie Wiley, naast composities van avantgarde musici als Julius Hemphill, John Carter, Marion Brown, Olu Dara e.a. Verwacht geen pure blues, deze heren maken moderne jazz dicht aanleunend tegen free jazz, ze zijn min of meer te vergelijken met het Art Ensemble of Chicago in hun glorietijd. Dus de wat abstracte combinatie van muziek van Charlie Patton en die van John Carter valt niet echt op want de oude bluessongs zijn door Roots Magic volledig getransformeerd in hedendaagse jazz muziek, maar het blijft uitermate interessant en een genoegen om naar te luisteren. De groep ontstond in 2013 in Rome, hun eerste twee albums “HoodooBlues & Roots Magic” (2015) en “Last Kind Words”(2017) werden door diverse tijdschriften en andere instanties uitgeroepen tot beste jazz album van het jaar (New York City Jazz Record, UK Jazz Radio, Rai Radio 3 e.v.a.).

De bezetting bestaat uit Alberto Popolla (klarinet, basklarinet, perc.), Errico De Fabritiis (altsax, baritonsax, harmonica), Gianfranco Tedeschi (contrabas) en Fabrizio Spera (drums, perc., citer) en er is sprake van diverse gasten, op Hoodoo Blues & Roots Magic is dat Luca Venitucci (orgel, melodica, citer), hij is te horen op Last Kind Words op orgel en piano en hierop is ook Luca Tilli te horen op cello. Op Roots Magic zijn de gasten Eugenio Colombo op fluit en basfluit en Francesco Lo Cascio op vibrafoon en gong. Ik betrek hun eerste twee albums ook in dit verhaal omdat die nog steeds verkrijgbaar zijn bij Cleanfeed rec. en zowel dit Italiaanse quartet, alsmede het vooruitstrevende Cleanfeed label uit Portugal verdienen wel wal meer aandacht want in de pers ben ik ze nog niet vaak tegen gekomen en dat verdienen ze dubbel en dwars.

Een van de sterkste vertolkingen is “Frankiphone Blues” op Take Root Among the Stars van trompettist Phil Cohran bekend van zijn werk bij het orkest van Sun Ra, maar er zijn meer indrukwekkende creaties te horen, de interpretatie van “Devil got my woman”van Skip James bijvoorbeeld met een sterk intro door de bassolo van Tedeschi en daarna unisono de blazers die perfect de sfeer oproepen van het desolate origineel. Dat geldt eveneens voor de spannende versie van “Mean Black Cat Blues” van Charley Patton die met 5 nummers het best vertegenwoordigd is over de drie albums. De titel van hun laatste album komt uit de roman van de Afro-Amerikaanse Octavia Estelle Butler. Het is knap hoe deze muzikanten de pure essentie van de country blues weten over te zetten in hun moderne jazz bezetting. Voor luisteraars, als deze recensent, die interesse hebben in zowel blues als jazz is dit “gefundenes Fressen”, niet iedereen is een muzikale omnivoor maar de liefhebber van moderne jazz komt hier zeker aan zijn trekken en de fans van de countryblues zullen zich wellicht niet onmiddellijk herkennen in deze muziek maar het is nooit te laat om de muzikale horizon te verbreden.

Behalve de bewerkingen van vooroorlogse country blues zijn er natuurlijk de nodige versies van grootheden uit de avantgarde jazz, ik noemde er al enkelen, hier volgt de rest, Roscoe MitchellHamiet Bluiett, Henry Threadgill, Charles Tyler, Sun Ra, Ornette Coleman, Kalaparte Maurice McIntyre, voorwaar de crème de la crème van de free jazz en dan is er ook nog ”Pee Wee Blues” van topklarinettist Pee Wee Russell en niet te vergeten twee eigen composities “Blues for Amiri B.” van Defabritiis en “the joint is jumping”van Tedeschi. De albums sluiten perfect bij elkaar aan, ik heb geen echte voorkeur, misschien steekt hun laatste album er iets boven uit. Het heeft niets met de muziek van doen maar ik moet het toch kwijt, de vormgeving van de digipacks is zeer fraai.

Jan van Leersum.

Jazzflits (Netherlands) September 2020

‘Take Root Among The Stars’ is alweer het derde album van het Italiaanse kwartet Roots Magic. Op-nieuw pakt het viertal uit met geïnspireerde versies van (vooral) muziek uit de AACM-achtige hoek. Componisten als Phil Cohran en Kalaparusha Mauri-ce McIntyre zullen niet snel figureren op de muziek-standaard van veel andere bands. Maar Roots Ma-gic laat horen dat het levende muziek is, die nog even hard kan knetteren als in de tijd waarin ze werd geconcipieerd. Zo zet het Sun Ra-achtige ‘Frankiphone blues’ van Cohran meteen de toon. Een fijne, aardse groove, een vocale fluitsolo van gast Eugenio Colombo en het feest kan niet meer stuk. Naast deze composities hebben de Italianen zich ook gestort op een tweetal stukken van blues-helden Skip James (’Devil got my woman’) en Char-lie Patton (‘Mean cat blues’). Die sluiten wonderwel aan bij de rest van het repertoire en laten horen dat de kreet ‘ancient to the future’ van het Art En-semble of Chicago wat te zeggen had. Roots Magic getuigt van de levensvatbaarheid van deze zwarte Amerikaanse muziek uit een zwaar en zeer onte-recht ondergewaardeerde onderstroom. En dat die hier door vier blanke mannen van een zekere leef-tijd uit Zuid-Europa wordt gespeeld doet daar totaal niet aan af. Ze hebben blijkbaar allemaal een zwar-te ziel.   

Herman te Loo

Musica Jazz  September 2020

Eccoci al terzo capitolo di quella sorta di enciclopedia musicale del futuro antico portata avanti con pervicacia ammirevole dai Roots Magic. Lo spirito dell’afro-futurismo pervade questa raffinata operazione, appare palese e consente al quartetto di aprire un personale corridoio spazio-temporale lungo il quale si incontrano la memoria e la rabbia, il desiderio e la progettualità della Black People. Una cornice culturale qui esplicitata anche nel titolo dell’album, una citazione presa a prestito da Octavia Butler, e non solo per la presenza di Sun Ra, nuovamente in scaletta con la ballad cosmica When There Is No Sun dall’orbita assai irregolare. Ritornano anche John Carter e Phil Cohran, mentre si effettuano per la prima volta prelievi dal repertorio di Kalaparusha Maurice McIntyre, di CharlesTyler (convocato con una medley tra Cha Lacy's Out East e Man Alone), di Skip James e di Ornette Coleman. Infine, costante in tutti e tre gli album finora pubblicati, riecco John Patton, del quale viene riletto Mean Black Cat Blues in maniera a dir poco scoppiettante. Tutta la musica dei Magic Roots, soprattutto in quest’ultimo disco, trasuda tensione, energia, a tratti ribolle, pare esplodere, si fa parossistica, si riassetta in un baleno, arretra introversa, diventa meditativa, estatica, rimastica frasi e ne espelle l’anima. Ancora una volta, il quartetto lascia pienamente riconoscibile l’originale e al tempo stesso lo trasfigura e c’è di più. In questa occasione compaiono porzioni di musica composta dal quartetto e interpolate nei brani rivisitati, o meglio sono esplicitamente indicati i contributi originali, laddove nei due dischi precedenti si era preferito non farne menzione pur in presenza di materiale proprio. Nel brano di Sun Ra fiorisce, per esempio, See The Stars, un concitato intreccio di frasi che si affastellano apparentemente in disaccordo, oppure all’interno di Devil Got My Woman di James c’è l’esemplare incastonamento di Rag For Six. Il brano si apre con un superbo e lungo assolo di Tedeschi, che introduce l’originale, enunciato coralmente, e a seguire si affaccia la porzione dei Roots Magic, ruvida e affilata come un grido di rivolta e poi viene d’improvviso ridotta a una nuvola di suono agitata dalle percussioni a mano di Spera. Forse il vertice di un disco che punta tutto sull’impossibilità di essere originali facendo a meno delle proprie radici, specie se magiche.

Gennaro Fucile

Soundcontest  September 2020

Nel loro campo i Roots Magic sono tra le più belle realtà della scena jazz tricolore e non solo. Il nuovo terzo album “Take Root Among The Stars” amplifica e aggiorna, come meglio non si potrebbe, la peculiare formula già veicolata e apprezzata nei precedenti lavori “Hoodoo Blues & Roots Magic” (2015) e “Last Kind Words” (2017). La strategia guida è, infatti, sempre quella di fondere il verbo blues più arcaico e primitivo con gli schemi e i modelli più vibranti e vivaci dello spiritual free e della Great Black Music in generale.

Stavolta a fare la differenza nel sistema sonoro del progetto è la scelta d’innestare parti e arrangiamenti originali nei temi di otto composizioni estrapolate dal songbook di altrettanti autori diversi, alcuni dei quali già ripresi nella coppia d’album antecedenti. Secondariamente, al quartetto base composto da Alberto Popolla, Errico De Fabritiis, Gianfranco Tedeschi e Fabrizio Spera si affiancano i colori strumentali di Eugenio Colombo e Francesco Lo Cascio, ospiti d’eccezione in un paio di tracce tra le più sensazionali del disco.

“Take Root Among The Stars” (titolo pescato tra le pagine di “The Parable Of The Sower”, romanzo fantascientifico della scomparsa scrittice afromericana Octavia Estelle Butler) mette subito l’ascoltatore sugli attenti proprio con una di queste due tracce, l’iniziale Frankiphone Blues del trombettista e polistrumentista Phil Cohran, dal 1959 al 1961 membro dell’Arkestra diretta da Sun Ra e inventore di un singolare strumento elettricamente amplificato derivato da mbira e kalimba, denominato appunto frankiphone. Facile intuire, a questo punto, il clima esotico e orchestrale del brano in questione, trascinato dal timbro battente e guizzante del vibrafono di Lo Cascio come anche dai fraseggi arguti e sottili del flauto di Colombo.

Inizialmente cauto e ancestrale, il passo della successiva Humility In The Light Of Creator (di Maurice McIntyre alias Kalaparusha, scomparso sassofonista membro dell’AACM che nei suoi ultimi anni s’era buttato a suonare in strada e metropolitana) si muta in un frenetico e scomposto assalto d’ance, corde e tamburi mentre Devil Got Woman (di Skip James) richiama gli ospiti in organico per declinare atmosfere brillantemente ondivaghe in chiave Art Ensemble Of Chicago; armonie dapprima regali e processionali, poi stridule e viscerali, smorzate all’improvviso da una coda morbosamente tribale e rituale.

Proseguendo troviamo la scalmanata e danzante gioia di Still Screaming For Charles Tyler, medley che ingloba Cha Lacy’s Out East e Man Alone del fenomenale sax baritono partner di Albert Ayler; il lirico avanguardismo di A Girl Named Rainbow, spartito inedito di Ornette Coleman riesumato nel 2010 dal quintetto di Andrew Cyrille con l’album “Special People”; il maniacale e irresistibile motivo di Mean Black Cat Blues del venerato Charley Patton; il febbricitante e scapigliato passo blues di When There Is No Sun, intrigante rilettura di un Sun Ra meno extraterreste, mentre più aderente all’introspettiva veste originale sembra essere Karen On Monday, ennesimo omaggio al formidabile clarinettista texano John Carter.

Mi sono dilungato nel citare e segnalare ogni brano perché il disco è davvero fantastico, dal principio alla fine. Ascoltarlo in modo disimpegnato o in guisa di semplice sottofondo mi pare impossibile. L’opera ha il magico potere di calamitare l’attenzione e invadere il quotidiano domestico. Difficile opporre resistenza al suo ricco portato di energia, al suo incredibile modo di gettare ponti tra passato e presente. “Take Root Among The Stars” istiga al movimento, a farti battere il piede, a portare il ritmo con uno schiocco delle dita, a inventare coreografie danzanti immaginando d’essere sulle rive del Mississippi o in qualche lontano villaggio africano.

Che dire poi dei musicisti? Ognuno nel suo ruolo e con il proprio strumento appare perfetto, efficace nel dialogo come nel monologo. Con le tonalità alte e gravi delle loro ance Popolla e De Frabritiis congegnano vortici, fraseggi e contrappunti che richiamano situazioni d’alta scuola. Con Tedeschi e Spera la sezione ritmica scandaglia il tempo in modo urgente, pulsante e chirurgico, sottolineando la qualità basica, misteriosa e anche esistenziale di questo repertorio. In “Take Root Among The Stars” la personalità e la compattezza del quartetto romano sono alquanto evidenti. Auspicabile, a questo punto, che si getti il cuore oltre l’ostacolo, per darci in futuro un album altrettanto bello di soli brani originali.

Olindo Fortino

All About Jazz  September 2020

A new release by the Italian Quartet Roots Magic is always welcome. Their contemporary and improvisatory approach to old blues tunes and the way they always put their own touch on the music of avant-garde jazz composers is kind of unique on the European scene. Take Root Among the Stars, out on Clean Feed, should be right up there with the best of 2020 releases.

Maurice Hogue / One Man's Jazz

Multikulti Project  (Poland)  September 2020

Chyba dotąd nie było europejskiego zespołu, który by z takim efektem przeszczepił tradycję chicagowskiego AACM-owskiego jazzu na grunt Europy. Założony w 2013 roku przez klarnecistę Alberto Popollę, saksofonistę Errico De Fabritiisa, kontrabasistę Gianfranco Tedeschiego oraz perkusistę Fabrizio Sperę ROOTS MAGIC to zespół bez precedensu. Fuzja tradycyjnego bluesa z muzyką improwizowaną o wyraźnej proweniencji freejazzowej. Rezygnując z instrumentu harmonicznego, członkowie formacji położyli nacisk na muzyczną wolność i surowość brzmienia.

Po dwóch latach od swojego powstania zespół wydał debiutancki album "Hoodoo Blues" (Clean Feed 2015). Wydawca zapowiadał album "Hoodoo Blues" jako Avant-Garde Blues, jako fuzję wpływów Blind Willie'go Johnsona, Charley'a Pattona i freejazzowej wrażliwości spod znaku Juliusa Hemphilla, Phila Cohrana, Johna Cartera, Sun Ra i Olu Dary.
Tak pisaliśmy o debiucie:
(...) Kwintet włoskich muzyków, który przyjął nazwę Roots Magic nagrał porywającą płytę, która może stanowić kolejny ważny punkt orientacyjny w historii tych dwóch gatunków. Konwencja tej płyty polega na swoistym collage'u tych dwóch stylistyk (jazzu i bluesa), a nawet epok (tradycyjnego bluesa i epoki free jazzu). Wybitne umiejętności muzyków (ten skład wydaje się nie mieć słabego punktu, każdy muzyk wykorzystuje tu swój wielki potencjał) podporządkowane są tu formie i dramaturgii. A dzieje się tutaj wiele!
Roots Magic postawi na nogi tych, którzy dali sobie spokój z tradycją jazzową, z muzyki zespołu płynie coś, co w surrealistycznej formie stawia znak zapytania nad gatunkowymi podziałami, które włoscy rozrabiacy rozbijają w pył (...)
Płyta wzbudziła duże zainteresowanie dziennikarzy muzycznych, co znalazło swoje odzwierciedlenie w wysokich miejscach w rankingach podsumowujących premiery fonograficzne roku 2015 (wysokie lokaty w New York Jazz Record czy Musica Jazz Top Poll).

Drugi album "Last Kind Words" (Clean Feed 2017) był wspaniałą kontynuacją oryginalnej koncepcji z debiutu.
Tak pisaliśmy o drugiej płycie zespołu:
(...) Dźwiękowe misterium, ekstatyczny mariaż brutalności i namiętności. Dzięki wartkiej narracji, dobrze zarysowanym muzycznym wątkom, fenomenalnym improwizatorom, celującym w kolektywnym szaleństwie, kapitalnym aranżacjom tematów zanurzonych w kulturowych rytuałach, płyta trzyma w napięciu od pierwszego do ostatniego dźwięku. A momenty, kiedy freejazzowe szaleństwo zderza się z ludycznością melodyjnych tematów Charley'a Pattona, Juliusa Hemphilla, Mariona Browna, Pee Wee Russella czy Henry'ego Threadgillaz z motoryką kapeli bluesowej są po prostu zachwycające (...)

Teraz otrzymujemy trzeci album, zatytułowany "Take Root Among the Stars' (Clean Feed 2020).
Sygnał do ataku daje "Frankiphone Blues", napisany przez Phila Cohrana, współpracownika jednego z cesarzy jazzu - Sun Ra. Mistrzowska interakcja, muzycy są w gazie, na pełnej prędkości wchodzą w gęstą, sub-orkiestrową formułę. Wielce pomocni okazują się tutaj zaproszeni muzycy - wibrafonista Francesco Lo Cascio i flecista Eugenio Colombo.
Kolejny "Humility in the Light of the Creator" Maurice'a McIntyre'a rozpoczyna się niewinnym perkusyjnym szelestem i spokojnym, niemalże kontemplacyjnym klarnetu basowego Alberto Popolla. Ale to tylko zapowiedź nadchodzącej intensywności. Zwróćcie uwagę na pełnego pasji i wigoru Fabrizio Spera, co rusz szarpiącego cugle tej czterocylindrowej maszyny.
Następnie "Devil Got My Woman" Skipa Jamesa, jeden z najwspanialszych bluesowych standardów.
Czarty jest "Still Screaming For Charles Tyler", oryginalna aranżacja członków zespołu, na którą składają się "Cha-Lacy’s Out East" i "Man Alone" autorstwa niedocenianego barytonisty Charlesa Tylera. To popis klarnetu basowego Alberto Popolli i saksofonu altowego Errico De Fabritiisa. Panowie zakrzywiają czasoprzestrzeń!
Dalej Panowie sięgają po "A Girl Named Rainbow" Ornette'a Colemana, i muszę przyznać, że robią doskonałą robotę, to odczytanie pozytywnie zaskoczy najbardziej zatwardziałego fana sztuki Ornette'a.
Pulsujący afrojazzową energią "Mean Black Cat Blues" z repertuaru Charleya Pattona, uważanego przez wielu za ojca Delta Blues, wydobywa na powierzchnię zjawiskowy, zabawny riff, który prowadzi na ku iście diabelskiej, perkusyjnej kulminacji.
Przedostatni "Where There Is No Sun" Sun Ra pokazuje prawdziwe mistrzostwo, z jakim muzycy poruszają się w międzygatunkowej materii mocnych bluesowych tematów, pełnymi garściami czerpiąc ze afroamerykańskiego jazzu, spuścizny międzygatunkowej psychodelii, oraz kolektywnej improwizacji.
Całość kończy "Karen On Monday" autorstwa klarnecisty Johna Cartera. Muzycy z wdziękiem przechodzą przez kolejne kręgi emocjonalnego "piekła" wolnego jazzu, z mocną, bluesową podbudową.

Roots Magic są bardziej wyraziści niż Sons of Kemet i bardziej muzykalni niż Kamasi Washington. Czy to wystarczy by zawojować jazzową publiczność? Zobaczymy, jednego zapiekłego fana w mojej osobie już mają!

Krzysztof Szamot

TomaJazz  (Spain)  September 2020

¿Puede existir un vínculo entre el blues de los años 20 y el free jazz? Si hasta ahora no te has hecho la pregunta es porque seguramente aún no conoces a los chicos de Roots Magic cuarteto italiano formado por Alberto Popolla (clarinete), Errico de Fabritiis (saxo tenor), Gianfranco Tedeschi (bajo) y Fabrizio Spera (percusión).

Con una historia que arranca en 2013, la formación asegura encontrar su fuente de inspiración en clásicos del deep blues como Charley Patton, Blind Willie Johnson, o Skip James, a los que mezcla en su “batidora de jazz” con composiciones de algunos de los músicos más creativos del género, desde Ornette Coleman a Julius Hemphill, pasando por Olu Dara, Sun Ra o Pee Wee Russell.

Su tercer trabajo, Take Root Among the Stars explora y navega entre temas de blues de distintas épocas, entre los que destacan temas como “Mean Black Cat Blues” rescatado del repertorio clásico de Charley Patton (considerado por muchos como el padre del Delta Blues), “Frankiphone Blues” escrito por el colaborador de Sun Ra, Phil Cohran; o “Still Screaming For Charles Tyler” inspirado claramente por el estilo de este maestro del free jazz.

Como en sus dos álbumes anteriores, el cuarteto italiano no intenta recrear la música que les inspira, sino que la reinterpretan en su propio estilo, llevándola aún más lejos y en muchas ocasiones, de una forma completamente creativa y me atrevería a decir, incluso radical.

Basta escuchar como prueba, la versión se se marcan del “Devil Got My Woman”  de Skip James y que tras arrancar con un solo de bajo monumental que durante dos minutos hace sudar la “gota gorda” a Gianfranco Tedeschi, los instrumentos de viento entran en tromba mezclando la línea melódica por todos conocida por pura improvisación y free jazz, mientras que la percusión de Fabrizio Spera acaba por conducir al conjunto en un tam-tam de raíces puramente africanas y que recuerda a ese Nueva Orleans de finales del XIX que se reunía en Congo Square.

O “A Girl Named Rainbow”, compuesta por el baterista de Ornette Coleman, Andrew Cyrille, una “fanfarria bluesesca” que Roots Magic desmonta por completo, introduciendo un ritmo meditabundo y pausado, haciéndola completamente suya, sin que por ello pierda la huella de Coleman.

En conjunto, Take Root Among the Stars es un álbum tremendamente poderoso, bailable hasta altas horas de la madrugada y que deja poco espacio para respirar. Estoy deseando poder verles en directo, estoy convencido que son capaces de producir uno de esos espectáculos que resultan difíciles de olvidar.

Rudy de Juana

Radio Student  August 2020

Pred nami je tokrat tretji album rimskega kvarteta Roots Magic, ki nosi naslov Take Root Among the Stars. Zasedba se v sedmih letih skupnega igranja ni spremenila – v njej muzicirajo Alberto Popolla s klarinetom in basovskim klarinetom, Errico De Fabritiis z altovskim in baritonskim saksofonom, Gianfranco Tedeschi s kontrabasom in Fabrizio Spera z bobni. Pogosto sicer gostujejo z lokalnimi glasbeniki, a stebri zasedbe so jasni, kot je jasen diapazon zasedbe Roots Magic, ki pa vseeno ni tako zlahka doumljiv kot imena njenih članov. Ker zasedbe Roots Magic na svojem priljubljenem radiu - če izvzamemo kratko recenzijo koncerta v okviru Jazza Cerkno iz leta 2018 - še nismo kaj dosti omenjali, bomo njen diapazon razčlenili s pomočjo osnovnih informacij o njej. Zasedbo sestavljajo štirje prekaljeni glasbeniki, šolani na italijanskih konservatorijih. Vsak izmed njih je poleg rednih novonastalih zasedb improvizacijske narave član še vsaj dveh do štirih delovnih zasedb. Spoznali so se v okviru nekega projekta, od katerega je odstopil pianist, nato pa se je trojici Popolla-Tedeschi-Spera pridružil De Fabritiis s saksofonom, čemur je sledil drastični preobrat v muziciranju in osnovanje dandanašnje zvočne baze zasedbe na osnovi predelave skladbe The Hard Blues znanega črnskega saksofonista iz druge polovice prejšnjega stoletja Juliusa Hemphilla. Od trenutka, ko so se uskladili interesi članov zasedbe in so si ti nadeli ime po kuharskem priročniku Hoodoo Herb and Root Magic, je četverica, ki je dobro seznanjena s črnsko glasbeno zgodovino in njenim sosledjem, nadaljevala s poustvarjanjem, reinterpretiranjem in rearanžiranjem skladb zgodnjega bluesovskega žanra ter skladb iz dobe kreativne eksplozije v jazzu od konca petdesetih in šestdesetih let naprej. Tako med zvezde kujejo glasbenike, kot so Charlie Patton, Bessie Smith, Ornette Coleman in Sun Ra, katerih skladbe predstavljajo sidro izraznega okvira zasedbe Roots Magic. Recept zasedbe Roots Magic je skozi leta postal že nekoliko obrtniški. Take Root Among the Stars je njen tretji album, sestavljen po istem principu kot njegova predhodnika - Hoodoo Blues in Last Kind Words. Album sestavlja osem predelav bolj in manj znanih napevov, od bluesa Skipa Jamesa do avanturističnega jazza Johna Carterja in Charlesa Tylerja. Album se na primer ne osredotoča na specifičnega bluesovskega glasbenika ali predelavo konkretnega albuma; zopet je zapisan in posnet skupek novih referenc ter izpeljank, za katerega imamo občutek, da bi ga zasedba Roots Magic lahko ustvarila vsaki dve leti. Neka konstanta je razvidna tudi sicer - album Take Root Among the Stars je za Clean Feed zopet soproduciral založbin ustanovitelj Pedro Costa - in ponovno so združno dokazali, da ohranjajo visok standard svojega izraznega okvira. Četudi jim ta okvir zapira določene poti, utegne Take Root Among the Stars obveljati za še enega izmed njihovih klasičnih izdelkov. Za zdaj smo lahko zadovoljni, da nam je dano slišati to, s čimer so očitno zadovoljni tudi glasbeniki sami – veščino njihovega muziciranja in novo poglavje njihovega zavestnega spiralnega dojemanja glasbenozgodovinskega razvoja, ki raje poustvarja zgodovino, kot pa da bi v stalnem nastajanju novih trendov manevriral skozi proces entropije popularnih godb. Take Root Among the Stars je citat črnske pisateljice znanstvene fantastike Octavie Butler, ki ustreza kontekstu zasedbe, čeprav se zdi, da je bil izbran zgolj zaradi svoje pomenske ustreznosti, ne pa zaradi svojega konteksta in poklona Octavii Butler, kot velja recimo za nekatera dela glasbene umetnice Moor Mother ali flavtistke Nicole Mitchell. Album se začne z izjemno priredbo skladbe Frankiphone Blues nekdanjega sodelavca Suna Raja, Phila Cohrana, pri kateri se kvartetu zavoljo vzbujanja občutka Cohranovega Artistic Heritage Ensembla pridružita še vibrafonist Francesco Lo Cascio in Eugenio Colombo s flavto, ki živahnost kongo bobnov v originalu nadomesti s svojo spremljavo in imenitnim solom za flavto. Roots Magic nato za komad Mauricea McIntyreja Humility in the Light of the Creator pustijo ob strani občutek za ritem in groove ter ga nadomestijo z epskimi vzponi in padci spiritualnega jazza, ki nas popelje v dolgo sredino albuma. V njej najprej predelajo bluesovski komad - tokrat Devil Got My Woman Skipa Jamesa -, katerega besedilo aranžirajo za skorajda hropeč klarinet in baritonski saksofon, ki vdihneta novo življenje skoraj devetminutni priredbi te znane žalostinke. Novi album zasedbe Roots Magic krasi manj skladb, a so te daljše. Ni tri- do štiriminutnih štiklcev, zato pa so skladbe bolj pestre kot na prejšnjih albumih, bolj celovite, raztegnjene, drznejše, s spretnejšimi in zahtevnejšimi aranžerskimi posegi. V drugi polovici albuma v tem smislu izstopata skladbi Mean Black Cat Blues Charlieja Pattona in pa When There Is No Sun zasedbe Sun Ra and his Arkestra, v katerih se zasedba izvrstno ujame. Album pa v kontrastu s prejšnjim 45-minutnim vrvežem sklene izredno pomirjujoča priredba Karen On Monday dueta Johna Carterja in Bobbyja Bradforda. Če strnemo misli, lahko povzamemo, da je Take Root Among the Stars svojevrsten presežek v izraznem okviru zasedbe Roots Magic. Njene poustvaritve so znova odraz neoporečnega umetniškega izliva, ki ga dosegajo le redki. Zasedba nevednim ušesom sicer še vedno spretno zakriva dejstvo, da ne igra izrazito avtorske muzike, oziroma da izrazito avtorsko prireja stare napeve. A če bodo ohranjali tak nivo poustvarjanja, predvidljivost zanje nikoli ne bo predstavljala ovire. Pa vendar: če vas niso že tokrat, vas bodo od zdaj naprej lahko vsakič upravičeno zasrbeli prsti, ko boste slišali vesti o zasedbinem novem albumu, češ kaj pa če se jim bo zgodil kak preobrat. Upajmo, da bodo med zvezdami kdaj še bolj avanturistično pognali korenine.

Andrej Pervanje, Tolpa Bumov

JazzTrail  August 2020

Formed in 2013, the exploratory Italian quartet Roots Magic delves into another set of tunes collected from the early traditional blues compendium - in its country and Delta variants - and the rich sonic palettes of the avant-garde and free jazz from the 70’s.

On their third installment for Clean Feed, Take Root Among the Stars, the blues pieces represent different eras. Whereas “Frankiphone Blues”, written by Sun Ra’s associate Phil Cohran, pulsates freely with an Afro-centric thrust, “Mean Black Cat Blues” was culled from the vintage repertoire of Charley Patton, considered by many to be the father of Delta Blues. The former track brings two guest artists to the forefront - vibraphonist Francesco Lo Cascio harmonizes with exoticism while flutist Eugenio Colombo sends brisk notes into a tizzy; the latter piece, instead, relies on a heavy counterpoint scenario, playful riffery and a final rhythmic cadence that throbs with excitement.

Maurice McIntyre’s “Humility in the Light of the Creator” starts with innocuous chiming percussion and a serene bass clarinet contemplation. The other instrumentalists, including drummer Fabrizio Spera (he's passionate and vigorous in the way he plays), have no objection to join and raise the intensity of things. Later, the group explores contrasting possibilities when suspended states filled with melodic circularity are shaken by the earth-bounding energy of Alberto Popolla’s bass clarinet and Errico De Fabritiis’ alto saxophone.

This pair of uninhibited improvisers cascade chromatically with plenty of nerve on “Still Screaming For Charles Tyler”, an arrangement that splices “Cha-Lacy’s Out East” and “Man Alone” by the underestimated baritonist cited in the title. This particular piece is swept by a propelling rhythmic force, containing a scorching hard-swinging section propitious for the woodwinds invasion. The baritone, most notably, projects a hulking mass of sound.

If the ensemble succeeds in bringing forth a fragile state of bliss on Ornette Coleman’s “A Girl Named Rainbow”, whether by trading spiraling melodies or searching for more spacious atmospheres, they were unable to elevate Sun Ra’s “Where There Is No Sun” to a superior dimension.

Concluding the record, “Karen On Monday” by clarinetist John Carter, is portrayed with abstraction, torpor and uncertainty, probing alternative moods through the use of a different instrumentation.

Roots Magic can perform with both athleticism and grace. Although with some tunes working better than others, this work finds the group in its classic form, both in concept and execution.

Filipe Freitas

Rimas e baditas  August 2020

De acordo com LeRoi Jones (mais tarde Amiri Baraka) em Blues People, o blues é a música que resulta da experiência de “transformação” do negro africano forçado a ir para o Novo Mundo em “negro americano”. A música, explica o poeta e autor, é indissociável desse processo de mutação identitária. Poderia, por isso mesmo, questionar-se o que fazem Alberto Popolla (clarinetes, objectos), Errico de Fabritiis (saxes alto e barítono, harmónica), Gianfranco Tedeschi (contrabaixo) e Fabrizio Spera (bateria, percussão, zither), um quarteto nascido em Roma, quando reclamam como raiz do seu som o blues nascido nos (geográfica, cultural e cronologicamente) distantes  campos de algodão do sul dos Estados Unidos. A resposta poderá estar numa das palavras do nome escolhido para este colectivo: Roots Magic.

Essa magia a que o ensemble romano se refere poderá ser a que explica que os blues tenham igualmente sido reclamados como um pilar do pensamento por trás do free jazz, a outra grande referência destes Roots Magic que aqui chegam ao seu terceiro e talvez mais completo e ambicioso registo (sempre com o carimbo editorial da Clean Feed). Assim, ao lado de peças de Charlie Patton (“Mean Black Cat Blues”) ou Skip James (“Devil Got My Woman”), há por aqui abordagens à obra de Phil Coran (“Frankiphone Blues”), Kalaparusha Maurice McIntyre (“Humility in the Light of Creator”, peça que admite alusões a “Space is the Place” de Sun Ra), Charles Tyler (“Still Screaming for Charles Tyler”), Ornette Coleman (“A Girl Named Rainbow”, tema originalmente gravado por Andrew Cyrille), Sun Ra (“When There is no Sun”) ou John Carter (“Karen on Monday”).

Um lamento resultante de opressão que se transforma em urgente grito de liberdade, portanto, o eixo em que assenta o libertário jazz deste quarteto pontualmente dilatado neste assombroso trabalho (Eugenio Colombo acrescenta flauta e flauta baixo em “Frankiphone Blues” e “Devil Got My Woman”, respectivamente, e Francesco Lo Cascio junta-se igualmente aos mesmos dois temas, no primeiro em vibrafone e no segundo em gongo). E é essa telúrica, porventura mágica, força que lhes guia os aventureiros passos pelo reportório cuidadosamente escolhido e a espaços radicalmente transformado. A visão que os Roots Magic possuem dos blues, e já agora do free jazz, não é estanque ou académica, antes emocional ou estética, uma abordagem que os liberta, muito literalmente, para se inscreverem eles mesmos num fluxo histórico que continua aberto a mutações. O resultado é uma música carregada de audácia, espírito de aventura, servida por um grave sentido sonoro, como se os Roots Magic quisessem fazer estremecer as fundações da própria História, não para a destruírem, antes para lhe sacudirem o pó, expondo as suas cicatrizes, conquistas, os seus lados mais sombrios, mas também os episódios de afirmação mais brilhantes.

Rui Miguel Abreu

TIME OUT LISBON - August 2020

BURNING AMBULANCE  July 2020

Roots Magic is an Italian quartet: Alberto Popolla on clarinet and bass clarinet, Errico DeFabritiis on alto and baritone saxes, Gianfranco Tedeschi on bass, and Fabrizio Spera on drums. For three albums now, all on the fantastic Portuguese label Clean Feed, they have been engaged in a unique project, interpreting black music from two sources — free/avant-garde jazz of the 1960s and 1970s, and Delta blues of the 1920s and 1930s — while occasionally adding an original composition to the mix.

Their debut, 2015’s Hoodoo Blues & Roots Magic, set out the terms of their mission quite clearly. It opened with a version of saxophonist Julius Hemphill‘s “The Hard Blues,” and followed that with an interpretation of Phil Cohran‘s “Unity” and John Carter‘s “The Sunday Afternoon Jazz and Blues Society.” The album also offered versions of pieces by Sun Ra (“A Call for Demons”) and Olu Dara (“I Can’t Wait Till I Get Home”), but two other tracks showed not only the other half of their vision, but the connecting lines between. They recorded versions of Blind Willie Johnson‘s “Dark Was the Night” and Charley Patton‘s “Poor Me” that were stunning in their stark power.

Their nearly seven-minute take on “Dark Was the Night” began with an extended bass solo, accompanied only by sparse percussion and a few shaken bells. It wasn’t until the piece’s halfway mark that the reeds came in, DeFabritiis’s alto hoarse and crying in a manner somewhere between Joseph Jarman and Peter Brötzmann, with Tedeschi bowing deep drones behind him and Spera’s drums a tumbling, tympani-like earthquake accented by massive cymbal crashes.

Their second album, 2017’s Last Kind Words, was a little more raucous at times, but dug deep into the groove, too. “Oh Hush,” an original based on a Charley Patton composition, was a strutting free-jazz-funk piece with an almost carnival-esque energy, somewhere between the Art Ensemble of Chicago‘s “Théme de Yoyo” and Sons of KemetThe title track starts out as a graveyard rite featuring clarinet and droning bowed bass, not unlike their take on “Dark Was the Night,” but eventually becomes a howling storm of sound. It was originally recorded by Geeshie Wiley in 1930 or ’31. (If you’ve never read this amazing New York Times story, go do that and come back afterward.)

They tackled more Charley Patton songs, too, including “Down the Dirt Road Blues,” “Tom Rushen Blues,” and another version of “Poor Me.” Those were juxtaposed against Julius Hemphill‘s “Dogon A.D.”, Marion Brown‘s “November Cotton Flower,” Hamiet Bluiett‘s “Hattie Wall,” Roscoe Mitchell‘s “Old,” and Henry Threadgill‘s “Bermuda Blues.” A few guests contributed here and there: Luca Venitucci (who’d also appeared on the debut) played piano and/or organ on four tracks, Luca Tilli played cello on two, and Antonio Castiello added “dub effects” to the Threadgill piece.

Their mission and philosophy was crystal clear at this point, and it was becoming fascinating to listen to their work, which drew vivid connections through the continuum of black music in America, while adding something all their own to it. Roots Magic were never attempting to re-create the music that inspired them; they were re-interpreting it in their own style, radically reshaping it while honoring the creative impulse that had caused Brown, Hemphill, Bluiett, Threadgill et al. to draw from and warp traditional forms in the first place.

On their third album, the quartet have expanded the scope of their project yet again. There are no original compositions on Take Root Among the Stars, which takes its title from a phrase by the late science fiction writer Octavia Butler. (Butler is also a strong inspiration for flutist/composer Nicole Mitchell, and for poet/electronic musician Moor Mother; the latter has spoken and written consistently about using recordings and writings from the past as time travel devices.) There’s another Charley Patton tune, “Mean Black Cat Blues,” on the album, and a version of Skip James‘ “Devil Got My Woman,” as well as pieces by John Carter, Ornette Coleman, Phil Cohran, Sun Ra, Charles Tyler, and Kalaparusha Maurice McIntyre (“Humility in the Light of Creator”). Eugenio Colombo plays flute on one track and bass flute on another; Francesco Lo Cascio plays vibraphone on one track and gong on another; and Spera has added zither to his drum and percussion work.

The version of “Devil Got My Woman,” which opens with a two-minute bass solo on which Tedeschi’s harsh exhalations are audible between notes, is monumental. When the horns (all low-end: bass clarinet, baritone sax, and Colombo on bass flute) come in, they have the roaring, squalling energy of a Peter Brötzmann/Mats Gustafsson collaboration, and Spera’s drumming is a massive thumping attack. At the five-minute mark, though, everything stops and the frantic, Mingus-meets-Hemphill riffing is replaced by droning, meditative long tones, as hand percussion takes over from kit drumming. It’s slow and patient, but never even slightly soothing. This is intense music.

Ornette Coleman never recorded “A Girl Named Rainbow” himself; he gave it to drummer Andrew Cyrille, who put it on his album Special People, with Ted Daniel on trumpet, David S. Ware on tenor saxophone, and bassist Nick De Geronimo. As always with his compositions, it’s immediately recognizable as his; the melody is a rising fanfare that then descends in a bluesy flurry. Roots Magic take it apart, picking through the melody slowly and cautiously, like archaeologists disassembling a pile of bones, but managing to keep the essential vitality of Coleman’s music.

This is a powerhouse album; it swings ferociously hard, and throbs like a whale’s heart. The core concept behind Roots Magic was intriguing at the beginning, and even as a one-off would have been worth checking out. Three albums in, it’s obvious they’re really onto something, drawing connections that should have been clear long ago (and were — see the Art Ensemble of Chicago‘s motto “Great Black Music, Ancient to the Future” or Charles Mingus calling a composition “Folk Forms, No. 1” or all the other avant-jazz artists and groups who’ve drunk deep of the past) and turning it all into a mighty roar with, yes, some real magic behind it.

Phil Freeman

AUDIOREVIEW July 2020

Terza prova dei Roots Magic, targata nuovamente Clean Feed. Ribadisce che il percorso del quartetto non
è frutto del caso, piuttosto di un virtuoso approccio culturale. Gli echi della Great Black Music si
spandono tutt'intorno a trecentosessanta gradi, per quindi venire sostanzialmente contaminati dalle
urgenze idiomatiche di Alberto Popolla (clarinetti), Errico De Fabritiis (sax contralto e baritono,
armonica), Gianfranco Tedeschi (contrabbasso) e Fabrizio Spera (batteria, percussioni). L'utopia dei
Roots Magic è coerente sia nella grafica delle copertine (significativa poi la foto interna che ritrae i Nostri
dinanzi alla tomba di Charlie Patton, situata a Holly Ridge, Mississippi), sia nella ragionata scelta del
repertorio, contemplante a volte brani pescati nei songbook di artisti poco noti.
Senza mai scivolare in formule sterili, il gruppo altalena con oculatezza dal folk blues
asprigno/melmoso/umidiccio/sanguinolento di Patton (“Mean Black Cat Blues”) e Skip James (“Devil Got
My Woman”), a un tema terragno e sinuosamente flemmatico di Sun Ra (“When There Is No Sun”), dalle
introspezioni di John Carter (“Karen On Monday”), a una perla sconosciuta di Ornette Coleman, “A Girl
Named Rainbow”, che vide per la prima volta la luce nel 1978 in un album di Jacque & Le Scott dedicato
al padre del free. Ma il lavoro palesa subito un forte impatto fin dal polveroso e sciamanico “Frankiphone
Blues”, posto in apertura, tratto dallo scarno repertorio del trombettista Phil Cohran (affiancò Sun Ra nel
1959-1961): alla ritmica tribale e alle ruggenti punteggiature dei fiati s'aggiungono gli ospiti Francesco Lo
Cascio al vibrafono (crea intangibili sospensioni in fascinoso contrasto con la ruvidezza del pezzo) e un
esplosivo/cinguettante Eugenio Colombo al flauto. Compatti. Progettuali. Internazionali.


Enzo Pavoni

CHEZ MIMICH  July 2020

TAKE ROOT AMONG THE STARS. In “Frankiphone Blues” di Phil Cohran, pezzo che apre questo gustoso lavoro, dal titolo “Take Root Among the Stars” prodotto da “Roots Magic”, si può ben dire che “in nuce” siano già presenti tutti gli stilemi del disco. Un groove “di spessore”, con una vena di forte spiritualità che pesca direttamente nella tradizione “afro”, ma anche nelle vibrazioni del blues. Del resto che le “radici” siano nelle stelle è un pensiero intimamente blues, oltre che una allusione metaforica piuttosto evidente. In realtà il titolo all’album è mutuato dalle parole di Octavia Butler, scrittrice americana e inventrice, se così si può dire, della “fantascienza malinconica”. E se la malinconia ha certamente un posto in questo lavoro, è pur vero che è la vena “free” ed energetica del jazz a dare impulso al disco che vede Alberto Popollla al clarinetto basso e oggetti, Errico De Fabritiis al sax alto, baritono e arpa, Gianfranco Tedeschi al contrabbasso e Fabrizio Spera alla batteria, percussioni e cetra, con graditi ospiti Eugenio Colombo al flauto basso e Francesco Lo Cascio al vibrafono e gong. Appena il tempo di tirare il fiato, ed ecco il kalaparushiano “Humility in the Light of Creator” e un altrettanto magnifico “Devil Got my Woman” di Skip James che accentuano quel tocco di magia africana, dove aleggia lo spirito di Sun Ra. E poi ancora una trascinante “Still Screaming for Charles Tyler” che apre la sezione più “free” dell’album con la celebre “A Girl Named Rainbow” di Ornette Colemann, originalmente arrangiata con in bella evidenza il clarinetto di Alberto Popolla, e poi ancora la lunga meditazione sonora, tra jazz e blues del Delta, con “Mean Black Cat Blues” di Charley Patton, con magnifiche spremute di sax e altrettanto fantastiche percussioni proprio come un “…black cat clawing on my door…”, come dice il verso originale del blues di Patton. Chiudono il disco “When There is no Sun” di Sun Ra e il desolato e quasi mistico “Karen on Monday” di John Carter, con una rumoristica di accompagnamento di grande raffinatezza, chiudono questo grande lavoro denso di suggestioni sonore e poetiche.

TRACCE di JAZZ   July 2020

PORTA LE RADICI FRA LE STELLE

Un avvolgente e magnetico groove imbastito dal basso e dal vibrafono, poi le frasi incalzanti ed evocative, quasi cerimoniali,  scandite dai fiati . Quindi una cesura, un break, che introduce una diversa e più sciolta scansione ritmica, su cui si innesta un concitato solo del flauto, accompagnato da echi dell’atmosfera iniziale, che ritorna a dominare il finale, trasformandosi in un fraseggio più esteso ed articolato. Inizia così “Take root among the stars“,   (bellissima frase tratta dal libro The Parable of the Sower, della scrittrice afroamericana di science fiction Octavia E. Butler, attribuita al manifesto fondativo di una religione immaginaria denominata Earthseed), dei Roots Magic, gruppo fondato a Roma nel 2013. Il brano è “Frankiphone Blues” di Phil Cohran, trombettista nell’orchestra di Sun Ra a fine anni ’50,  ed è un inizio che non può lasciare indifferenti, come tutto il terzo album del quartetto italiano pubblicato dall’etichetta Clean Feed.  Un ulteriore passo in avanti rispetto al primo “Hoodoo Blues & Roots Magic” (2015) ed al successivo “Last Kind Words” (2017) in quel progetto originale e senza compromessi che si propone di accoppiare materiale del blues arcaico degli anni ’20 e ’30 ed autori quali Charley Patton, Blind Willie Johnson, Skip James, a composizioni ed approccio tipici del free jazz,  assumendo come riferimenti i nomi di Sun Ra, Roscoe Mitchell, Henry Threadgill, Pee Wee Russell, Ornette Coleman. Nelle otto tracce del disco, Alberto Popola (clarinetti), Errico De Fabritiis (saxes) ,  Gianfranco Tedeschi (basso)  e Fabrizio Spera (batteria) con gli ospiti Eugenio Colombo ai flauti e Francesco Lo Cascio al vibrafono, riescono  a rendere esplicita ed attuale, attraverso la rivitalizzazione del repertorio scelto, integrato da sezioni autografe inserite nel tessuto dei  brani, tutta la forza espressiva ed il feeling brutale di una musica amata ed omaggiata come elemento di crescita personale. Nel disco convivono lo spirito libero inconoclasta e le informali dialettiche del free con il battito secco e le reiterazioni del blues, in un gioco dei contrasti che rende l’ascolto un’esperienza imprevedibile: ci si può esaltare per un groove ritmico ed un momento dopo trovarsi in una terra di nessuno dove il dialogo fra i fiati  è spigoloso ed urticante, oppure assecondare la distanza dalla struttura formale di un passaggio, e ritrovarsi nel brano successivo ad accarezzare con la mente una melodia baciata dal dono della grazia. Succede tutto così, in modo naturale, nello svolgimento di un racconto che attraversa le otto tracce fino alla conclusione affidata al clarinetto calato in una straniante atmosfera ambientale di “Karen on monday” di John Carter: dalle ondate free di “Humility In The Light Of Creator” di Kalaparusha e dagli incastri geometrici fra i fiati di “Still Screaming For Charles Tyler” del baritonista statunitense, che brucia poi in un intenso fuoco acceso dal sax e dal clarinetto oltre la metà del suo svolgimento, al blues tagliente e dinamico  di “Devil Got My Woman” (Skip James), introdotta dal basso di Tedeschi e chiusa nel ripiegarsi dei fiati in  un epilogo dominato dalle percussioni,  fino alle esaltanti reiterazioni ritmiche di “Mean Black Cat Blues” di Charley Patton. Poi ci sono i brani di Ornette, “A Girl Named Rainbow“, del 1978, già interpretato da Andrew Cyrille, e di SunRa, “When There Is No Sun“. Il primo, una  lenta e progressiva costruzione di un tema che, nella sua compiuta esposizione, arriva dritto al cuore. Il secondo, un viscerale riff blues che a metà subisce una metamorfosi free e prosegue in modo simbiotico  fra le due componenti, a rappresentare quasi simbolicamente l’anima di Roots Magic.

Andbar

TINNITIST Hearing things  July

The adventurous Italian outfit deconstruct & rebuild vintage jazz and blues cuts. Between the cover art and the title, you might quite reasonably think you’ve stumbled upon an album from some sort of way cool Afro-futurist outfit. Nope. Turns out Roots Magic are actually an adventurous Italian jazz outfit. Even so, their latest album Take Root Among the Stars is also way cool — primarily because the inventive quartet gamely deconstruct classics by everyone from Delta bluesmen like Charley Patton and Skip James to jazz iconoclasts like Sun Ra and Ornette Coleman, revamping them into muscular groovathons, hard-driving post-bop barnburners and free-jazz skronkfests. Root out this one.

Darryl Sterdan

LE SOIR (B)  June 2020

Troisiemme album pour ce group qui possède une belle solidité et une belle interactivité Ses influence? Le Jazz contemporain d'Italie, le postbop, Ornette Coleman, Sun Ra, le Blues et les musiques Africaines. Le resultat est passionant. Il comence par un accrocher, "Frankiphone Blues" de Phil Cohran qui fut le trompetiiste de Sun Ra, pour vagabonder dans de règions plus Free avec "Hulility in the light of Creator", plus Blues avec "Devil got my Woman" et plus Africaines avec "Still Screaming for Charles Tyler" et pour rendre ensuite homage à Ornette Coleman, Charlie Patton, Sun Ra, John Carter. Les arrangements sont brillants, les solos de saxophone et clarinets sont impressionants. C'est un album imposant et èloquent, presque intimidant tant les musiciens sont excellents. Mais n'hestitez pas entrez-y sans crainte: la musique de ce Roots Magic ets puissant mais emoutant et totalment accesible

Calude VanTroyen

BLOW UP  June 2020

Continuano a calarsi nella miniera del Delta blues i Roots Magic, un labirinto di cunicoli che cela tesori in abbondanza, e insieme a tirare acqua fresca dal pozzo senza fondo del free e della creative music. Sono entrambe attività meritorie, perché recuperano alla memoria suoni e nomi di un passato fecondo, ancora capace di stimolare chi oggi, come i Roots Magic, sa carpirne i segreti e sfruttarne le possibilità. In ogni caso non è un mestiere facile, lo dimostra il differente indirizzo intrapreso dall’iperproduttivo jazz italiano dell’ultimo decennio, diviso tra mainstream boppistico, astrattezze influenzate dall’universo rock/elettronico e improvvisazione magari anche radicale ma in forte difetto di personalità. I Roots Magic non fanno tendenza, questo è ormai sicuro, e alla terza prova paiono anzi scavare ancor più il fossato tra loro e il resto della scena tricolore. Rispetto ai precedenti “Hoodoo Blues & Roots Magic” (2015) e “Last Kind Words” (2017) le coordinate su cui viaggia il nuovo album potrebbero apparire, a un ascolto distratto, all’incirca le stesse. In realtà il quartetto giunge in “Taking Root Among The Stars” a esprimersi con maggiore e naturale scioltezza, rivelando un’accresciuta convinzione nei propri mezzi, tanto in fase d’esecuzione quanto negli studiati arrangiamenti. I dialoghi, le sovrapposizioni e i contorcimenti tra i clarinetti di Alberto Popolla e l’alto e il baritono di Errico De Fabritiis si sono affinati in forme complesse, senza che ciò comporti una diminuzione della forza comunicativa. Fabrizio Spera (batteria) e Gianfranco Tedeschi (contrabbasso) riescono da parte loro a impiantare strutture ritmiche flessibili e poliedriche come mai sinora. Particolare solo in apparenza insignificante, per la prima volta i credit di copertina segnalano che in quattro tracce (di Phil Cohran, Skip James, Charley Patton e Sun Ra) sono state inserite parti composte dalla band. Ne abbiamo domandato il senso a Spera: “Fin dall’inizio le riletture, soprattutto quelle del repertorio legato al blues, incorporavano quasi sempre dei nostri materiali originali, ma effettivamente sino a ora non lo avevamo segnalato in maniera esplicita. Questa volta, grazie anche al fatto che nello specifico le sezioni originali sono identificabili in punti precisi dei brani, abbiamo deciso di comunicarlo in modo chiaro e di fatto accreditarlo tra le note del disco. Si tratta di una modalità sviluppata all’interno del nostro lavoro di arrangiamento e che non escludiamo possa essere ancora incrementata, fino ad arrivare a elaborare in futuro un repertorio sostanzialmente inedito”. Nell’attesa, gustiamoci le toste e sanguigne reinvenzioni di Humility In The Light Of Creator (Kalaparusha Maurice McIntyre), A Girl Named Rainbow (Ornette Coleman) e Karen On Monday (John Carter).

Piercarlo Poggio

JAZZ.pt  June 2020

Italianos de origem, mas muito negros na música, os Roots Magic sabem tudo sobre blues. Sabem com um saber enciclopédico que supera o dos académicos, porque os ouvem - e tocam - com uma perspectiva apaixonada, única, de arqueólogo e antropólogo sem distância. Os blues, para este grupo, não são só a música de Charley Patton (apesar de este estar sempre presente; neste novo disco, a foto do interior é a do quarteto na sua campa). Para este quarteto de Roma, os blues são toda a herança da música negra que viajou para os Estados Unidos e que se desenvolveu a partir das canções das plantações e do repertório dos “deep blues” (final dos anos 20 do século passado, início dos 30) e dos “jazzmen” que orgulhosamente incorporaram as músicas africanas na luta contra a discriminação dos anos 1960. É a grande música negra americana lida a partir da cidade europeia mais bonita do mundo.

Para se poder ter uma noção da música creio que ajudará ver os autores que tocam: os “bluesmen” (e “blueswomen”) Charley Patton, Geeshie Wiley, Blind Willie Johnson e Skip James. Entre os “jazzmen” temos Roscoe Mitchell, Marion Brown, Julius Hemphill, Hamiet Bluiett, Pee Wee Russell, Henry Threadgill, Phil Cohran, John Carter, Sun Ra, Olu Dara, Kalaparusha Maurice McIntyre, CharlesTyler e Ornette Coleman. A ideia de libertação, de luta pela causa negra, de políticas igualitárias e de superação pela música sobressai ao vermos listados os compositores que o grupo escolheu interpretar nos seus três discos. Compreendemos por que é que o grupo italiano não deixa de ir à fonte em Holly Ridge, no Mississippi, antes de seguir o percurso da água.

A banda surgiu em Roma em 2013 e todos os seus três álbuns foram editados pela Clean Feed. É um trabalho que cresce e vai ficando mais consistente. Ouvi-los ao vivo (Seixal Jazz) impressionou, pois a sua qualidade técnica é gigantesca, bem como a capacidade que cada um tem de renovar numa música que parece sagrada (ou que, pelo menos, faz mais pela alma do que muito livro bento). Trata-se de um trabalho apaixonado de quem, como comecei por dizer, dá aulas sobre blues e conhece profundamente a música. Ao estudá-la e praticá-la descobre-lhe racional e emocionalmente as frinchas mais ocultas.

Em todas as interpretações contamos com as releituras dos italianos e estes, por vezes, introduzem composições suas dentro dos temas originais, numa forma de apropriação interessantíssima em que os temas são “infectados” e reaparecem diferentes e mais fortes. É o caso de “Frankiphone Blues”, que abre este terceiro volume, assinado por Phil Cohran (trompetista na Arkestra de Sun Ra de 1959 a 61 e fundador da AACM). Uma peça notável que foi desenterrada das profundezas de um baú de três singles editados pela Zulu Records da Philip Cohran & The Artistic Heritage Ensemble. A adição de vibrafone e flauta cria uma dimensão orquestral e a música tem uma forma e um sentido circulares que nos hipnotizam. Ficamos desde logo agarrados a este disco que já gira no meu leitor de CDs há um mês! Os blues e o jazz libertário magnificamente lidos e estudados, é o que aqui encontramos. Grande disco para confinamentos, desconfinamentos e mais além.

Rui Eduardo Paes

SALT PEANUTS (Sweden) June 2020

For English (google) translation, see below.

Roots Magic er et italiensk ensemble som, så vidt vi vet, har kommet med to plater på Clean Feed-selskapet tidligere, «Hoodo Blues & Roots Magic» (2015), som er anmeldt HER, og «Last Kind Words» (2017), som er anmeldt HER.

Bandet består av klarinettisten klarinettisten Alberto Popolla, saksofonisten Errico de Fabritiis, bassisten Gianfranco Tedeschi og trommeslageren Fabrizio Spera. I tillegg har de invitert med Eugenio Colomo på fløyter i en låt og Francesco Lo Casco på vibrafon og gong på et par.

Musikken har sitt utspring i det afrikanske kontinent, godt blandet opp med relativt frisk, italiensk jazz, som har sine røtter godt innenfor 60-tallstradisjonen.

Vi får åtter låter, og det starter med Phil Cochrans friske og fine «Frankiphone Blues», som setter en fin standard, og som vil trekke til seg mange lyttere, før de går over i den friere, «Humility in the Light of Creator» av Kalaparusha Macrice McIntyre, og vi er midt inne i den tøffere delen av den amerikanske sen-60-tallsjazzen. Deretter følger Skip James’ «Devil Got My Woman», en deilig blues hvor bassklarinett og barytonsaksofon dominerer og som avleverer fine solier, før vi får en hyllest til saksofonisten Charles Tyler, som åpenbart har vært et forbilde for denne gjengen musikere. Hyllesten har fått tittelen «Still Screaming for Charles Tyler» og inneholder Cha Lacys «Out East» og Tylers «Man Alone». Og her går det virkelig unna. Dette er også en blues, men som tar oss rett inn på Manhattans mørkeklubber på 70-tallet. Musikken har klare røtter i Afrika, vi får en heftig og drivende barytonsaksofonsolo fra de Farbritiis over et heftig «fire flate»-bass-spill som svir i veggene. Og det swinger hemningsløst av hele bandet. Popolla overtar med en bassklarinettsolo som ville fått Eric Dolphy til å sperre opp øynene. Fantastisk! Og tøffere enn dette er det nesten ikke mulig å gjøre det.

Deretter får vi Ornette Colemans «A Girl Named Rainbow», hvor klarinett og altsaksofon vekselsvis deler på oppgaven med å «trekke» låten framover, noe de gjør på en strålende måte. Dette er en av Colemans fine ballader, som her får nydelig behandling. Charlie Pattons «Mean Black Cat Blues» er også en fantastisk blues. Ganske enkel i oppbyggingen, men som her får en deilig behandling fra de to blåserne, samtidig som bass og trommer pusher og dytter de to framover. Og å høre bassklarinett spille en sugende blues som dette, må være noe av det fineste jeg vet innenfor jazzen. Etter ett par minutter skifter stemningen litt, men de gode bluesriffene fortsetter, og jeg får en slags oppdatert Duke Ellington-følelse av spillet.

Så går de mot slutten med Sun Ras «When There is No Sun», også en seig blues med flott barytonsaksofonspill, og i en litt ryddigere versjon enn det man vanligvis opplevde med Sun Ra. Men de gode italienerne klarer ikke helt å holde seg i skinnet. De må «styrte» ut mot venstre, slik man skal når man gjør Sun Ra, og her anføres de i et kort strekk av Tederschis bass, før de igjen er inne i «blues-grooven». Deilig! før de avslutter med klarinettisten John Carters «Karen On Monday», som med en svevende innledning med vakkert klarinettspill, får oss til å sitte ytterst på stolen og vente på den store «grooven». Men den uteblir. Men det gjør ingenting, for dette er en strålende klarinettlåt, skapt av en av mine absolutte favorittklarinettister, og fremført på en ytterst «røddig» måte, og blir en verdig avslutning på dette strålende albumet.

Jeg har hørt mye på de to forrige platene med Roots Magic. Men denne gangen synes jeg de slår alle rekorder. Hele innspillingen er solid gjennomført. Musikerne har virkelig funnet kommunikasjonsformen, og hele veien er dette en sann fryd.

Anbefales på det sterkeste!

Jan Granlie

Roots Magic is an Italian ensemble that, as far as we know, has released two albums on Clean Feed, "Hoodo Blues & Roots Magic" (2015), and "Last Kind Words" (2017), both reviewed here.
The band consists of clarinetist A.P., saxophonist E.de F. bassist G.T. and drummer F.S. In addition, they have invited Eugenio Colombo on flutes and Francesco Lo Casco on vibraphone.
The music has its roots in the African continent, well mixed with relatively fresh, Italian jazz, which has its roots well within the 60s tradition. Here we have eight songs, starting with Phil Cochran's fresh and fine "Frankiphone Blues," which sets a fine standard, and which will attract many listeners, before moving into the more free, "Humility in the Light of Creator" by Kalaparusha Maurice McIntyre, and we're in the middle of the tougher part of the American late-60s scene. Then comes Skip James's "Devil Got My Woman," a delicious blues in which bass clarinet and baritone saxophone dominate and delivers fine solos, before we get a tribute to saxophonist Charles Tyler, who has obviously been a model for these musicians. The tribute has been titled "Still Screaming for Charles Tyler" and features Cha Lacy's "Out East" and Tyler's "Man Alone". And here it really goes away. This is also a blues, which takes us right into Manhattan's 70s dark clubs. The music has clear roots in Africa, we get a hefty and driving baritone saxophone solo from the Fabritiis over a hefty "four flat" bass game floating in the walls. And it swings seamlessly throughout the band. Popolla takes over with a bass clarinet solo that would make Eric Dolphy open his eyes. Fantastic! And tougher than this, it is almost impossible to do so.

Then we get Ornette Coleman's "A Girl Named Rainbow", where clarinet and alto saxophone alternately share the task of "pulling" the song forward, which they do in a brilliant way. This is one of Coleman's fine ballads, which is lovely treated here. Charlie Patton's "Mean Black Cat Blues" is also a fantastic blues. Quite simple in the build-up, but which here gets a nice treatment from the two blowers, while the bass and drums push and push the two forward. And hearing bass clarinet playing a sucking blues like this must be some of the finest I heard in jazz. After a few minutes, the mood changes a bit, but the good blues riffs keep going, and I get a sort of updated Duke Ellington feel.
Then they go toward the end with Sun Ra's "When There is No Sun", also a cool blues with great baritone saxophone play, and in a slightly clean version if compared to the one usually experienced with Sun Ra. But the good Italians can't quite keep up. They have to "steer" to the left, as you do with Sun Ra, before they go back to the "blues groove". Delicious! before ending with clarinetist John Carter's "Karen On Monday," which, with a soaring, beautiful clarinet introduction, makes us sit and wait for the big "groove." But it fails. But it doesn't matter, because this is a brilliant clarinet song, created by one of my absolute favorite clarinetists, and performed in an extremely "reddish" way, and becomes a worthy ending to this brilliant album.
I've bee listening a lot to the previous Roots Magic's albums. But this time I think they hit all the records. The entire recording is solid. The musicians have really found the form of communication, and this is a real delight.

Highly recommended!

3 - 2 - 1

Last Kind Words

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Ken Waxman – Jazzword – September 21, 2018

Demonstrating how the Mississippi Delta can figuratively drain in and out of the Mediterranean, is Rome’s Roots Magic quartet, on its second disc devoted to instrumental improvisations on mostly classic 1930s Blues. As an added dividend, the canny Italians interpret five 1970s Free Jazz classics – and some originals – demonstrating how the Blues continuum has remained constant throughout the years,

Some of the country’s most accomplished players, clarinetist Alberto Popolla, who has worked with Michel Godard; saxophonist Errico De Fabritiis, who moves between Jazz and contemporary music; veteran bassist Gianfranco Tedeschi, who has performed with Wadada Leo Smith and many others; and drummer Fabrizio Spera, whose playing partners have ranged from Evan Parker to Axel Dörner, Roots Magic members build on Blues roots in a sophisticated manner. By treating the form as a living entity, eschewing rote copying (and vocals) and with occasional help from keyboardist Luca Venitucci and cellist Luca Tilli, the band’s take invalidates any questions of authenticity, How different after all is its interpretations from a Japanese string quartet playing Bach or an all-British gamelan ensemble?

Compare for instance the equal facility the quartet brings to its versions of Charley Patton’s “Tom Rushen Blues” from the 1930s and Julius Hemphhill’s “Dogon A.D.” from the 1970s. Emphasizing its metronomic beat, the former swings via clarinet puffs and saxophone snarls as the Blues vamps deepen. Hard and heavy baritone saxophone riffs provide the underpinning to flutter-tonguing clarinet, until together they reach a level of intense, crying excitement.

With such treatments telescoping chronological distances between tracks as if the separation between Rome, Italy and Rome, Georgia didn’t exist, the band refines this approach on the remaining material. Among the dozen tunes are Patton’s “Poor Me”, that includes a thickened double bass buzz and broken-octave riffs from the horns; Venitucci’s tremolo keyboard clipping preceding a melodic double-horn exposition on Marion Brown’s “November Cotton Flower”; and the group demonstrates further versatility as a shuffle beat plus a feathery clarinet refrain smugly fits “Pee Wee’s Blues” into the concept. As should be expected, originals composed by Popolla add a sheen of Italianate jollity and banda-like dance motions to the Blues sensibility.

While Roots Magic may have different roots than the original Blues musicians, its CD affirms that an ability to express the magic rooted in the Blues isn’t limited by geographic boundaries. Ken Waxman

Bill Shoemaker – Point of Departure

Roots Magic again hits the sweet spot between early blues and composers like Julius Hemphill, Roscoe Mitchell and Henry Threadgill on their second album. The quartet is tight when indicated, loose at the right moments, and exudes conviviality in both modes. It may be glib to characterize Last Kind Words as a great avant-party album, but …

JAZZ MAGAZINE (FR) February 2018

Rarement aurat on entendu succession de blues aussi galvanisants…  David Cristol 

THE FIRE NOTE online music magazine

Roots Magic is a quartet of Italian musicians. Their second release on Clean Feed records continues the band’s deep engagement with African-American delta blues and experimental jazz. The late, great Lester Bowie, trumpeter in the Art Ensemble of Chicago, once claimed in an interview that his primary concern as a musician was “good old country ass-kicking.” I don’t know how that might translate into Italian, but based on the evidence of Last Kind Words, these four signori seem to understand the sentiment.
In any case, their selection of repertoire is impeccable. Take, for example, “Last Kind Words Blues”, a minor-key classic recorded in 1930 by Geeshie Wiley, who sang and and accompanied herself on acoustic guitar. The Roots Magic arrangement of this tune maintains the dirge-like quality of the original recording, but extends it into all-out free jazz skronk of the Peter Brotzmann school.
“Tom Rushen Blues” stands out among several Charley Patton blues songs included on the album. The quartet adds a cellist to this bottom-heavy interpretation of the tune, which features bass clarinet and baritone sax over a rolling groove that would fit right in on a Tom Waits album. On “Oh Hush”, which is based on Charley Patton’s 1934 recording, “Oh Death”, the band brings some serious funkiness to the proceedings, by adding organist Luca Venitucci (who plays on three of the album’s other songs), while the drum part traces the connections between New Orleans second line rhythms and the R&B of the Meters.
Roots Magic’s interpretations of more modern tunes are also highly successful. Indeed, a key part of the genius of Last Kind Words is that way that the album makes anachronistic connections between songs written many years apart. Marion Brown’s 1979 tune “November Cotton Flower” is a lovely and soulful ballad, and its sequencing at the center of the album gives the listener an opportunity to relax and reflect before the band kicks back into high gear with a cover of Julius Hemphill’s stone-cold classic “Dogon A.D.” (from the 1972 album of the same name). The album closes with a dub-influenced version of Henry Threadgill’s “Bermuda Blues” (a highlight from his 1986 Sextett album, You Know the Number).
Throughout Last Kind Words, Roots Magic celebrates the original source material without being intimidated by it. The band’s willingness to take chances has paid off in a great album. Everett Wallace

JAZZ NEWS (FR) March 2018 (disque du mois)

…rèfèrences tres Nouvelle Orleans, gros groove et vibratos. La musique d’Alberto Popolla est oecumenique dans ses rèfèrences, comme dans son interpretation, et rèussit cette gageure pour un Europèen de rèconcilier le Delta et un panel de modernistès Jazzistiques dans les quelles les improvisateurs du vieux Monde oublient souvent le Blues. Pierre Tenne

STEREOGUM (USA) Best Jazz Albums of 2017

Roots Magic are an Italian quartet who draw strong lines between deep blues and free jazz by reworking tunes by Blind Willie Johnson, Charley Patton, and Geeshie Wiley alongside works by Marion Brown, Julius Hemphill, Roscoe Mitchell, Henry Threadgill, and others. There’s always been plenty of blues in free jazz; check the catalogs of David Murray and Archie Shepp, not to mention the Art Ensemble Of Chicago. But Roots Magic also blend the fierce and hypnotic cry of their horns with tight funk rhythms, and add elements of dub once in a while. This is their second album, and it’s a strong demonstration that their core concept is one that gives players this talented and imaginative a lot of room to run.

SALT PEANUTS (Norway)
http://salt-peanuts.eu/record/roots-magic/

Roots Magic, er en italiensk kvartett, bestående av klarinettisten Alberto Popolla, alt- og barytonsaksofonisten Errico de Fabritiis, bassisten Gianfranco Tedeschi og trommeslageren Fabrizio Spera. I tillegg har de invitert inn gjestene Luca Venitucci (orgel og piano), Luca Tilli (cello) og Antonio Castiello (dub-effekter) på noen spor. De har tidligere utgitt platen «Roots Magic» (anmeldt her) på det portugisiske selskapet Clean Feed, og de fire musikerne har lenge vært aktive musikere i Italia. I deres «roots»-prosjekt, befinner de seg både i det folkemusikalske, det sirkus-aktige og i den frittgående jazzmusikken. Vi får 12 komposisjoner, hvor flere er skrevet av kjente musikere innenfor frijazzen, så som Charley Patton, Roscoe Mitchell, Marion Brown, Hamiet Bluiett, Julius Hemphill, Pee Wee Russell, selv om han kanskje ikke helt går inn under frijazzkategorien) og Henry Threadgill. I tillegg får vi servert et par låter ført i pennen av klarinettisten Alberto Popolla. Musikken er i utgangspunktet veldig italiensk. Med det mener jeg at de har mye sirkus i blodårene, og de litt «bakpå»-beatene, gjør musikken interessant og spennende. Og i låtene som er komponert av de mer kjente musikerne, gir de sine helt egne, og originale versjoner. Musikerne, og særlig Alberto Popolla, er en glimrende klarinettist, som bruker klarinetten adskillig mer moderne enn mange av de man tradisjonelt hører på når det gjelder klarinettspill. Men det blir ikke frittgående musikk, som for eksempel Peter Brötzmann eller Ken Vandermark. Musikken til Popolla er mye mer tradisjonell enn disse herrene. Saksofonisten de Fabritiis er en kreativ saksofonist. Han er teknisk god, og hans solier er fyldige og gode. Musikken som i utgangspunktet er gjort av de mer kjente komponistene fremføres med respekt, uten at det blir noen «pinglete» versjoner. Jeg føler mer at de oppdaterer låtene fra 60-tallet til 2017-tapning, og hele veien går det unna så det svir i veggene. I en dal av sporene kan man føle arven etter World Saxophone Quartet eller Henry Threadgills AIR. Hør bare på Roscoe Mitchells «Old», som slentrer av gårde på ytterst sjarmerende vis, Marion Browns fine «November Cotton Flower» eller Pee Wee Russells fine «Pee Wee Blues», en av de cooleste versjonene jeg noen gang har hørt av låten. Og sistesporet, Henry Threadsgills «Bermuda Blues (Quasi Dub) er bare strålende og sjarmerende. «Last Kind Words» er blitt en overraskende fin plate, med et relativt ukjent band, i alle fall for oss nordboere, som mer enn gjerne kan dukke opp på en klubb eller festival i nærheten når de måtte ønske, for dette er tøft! Spill den gjerne høyt, så vil naboene garantert komme løpende for å spørre hva denne strålende musikken er.  Jan Granlie

DUSTED MAGAZINE (USA)
http://dustedmagazine.tumblr.com/post/164024506991/roots-magic-last-kind-words-clean-feed

Cultural appropriation has been in a hot potato topic in jazz ever since the Original Dixieland Jazz Band beat its African American counterparts to the punch and cut a short stack of fast-selling acetates back in 1917. Band leader Nick LaRocca parlayed that precedence into a claim that he and his colleagues established the idiom. Push back was immediate and ardent. A century later the members of the Italian ensemble Roots Magic would almost certainly align with LaRocca dissenters. Their second outing for Clean Feed, Last Kind Words, is rooted in both reverence and aptitude regarding the cultural polyglot their musical sources represent.

The band toggles between Pre-WWII country blues and the first generation Chicago-New York nexus of free jazz in its choice of covers. Clarinetist and erstwhile leader Alberto Popolla also contributes a pair of originals and the group also welcomes several guests to the fold. Popolla and Errico de Fabritiis alternating on alto and baritone saxophones make for a flexible and feisty frontline while bassist Gianfranco Tedeschi and drummer Fabrizio Spera generate elastic and propulsive rhythms beginning with an ebullient takedown of Charlie Patton’s “Down the Dirt Road Blues” stacked with hot horn solos and a stomping beat.

The title piece borrowed from Delta chanteuse Geeshie Wiley manages the difficult alchemy of soaking in blues without turning to parodic brine. Popolla’s clarinet wails atop a sawing arco drone and a tumbling cascade of drums and the piece takes on grandly anthemic proportions as an escalating dirge. Patton’s “Tom Rushen Blues” and “Poor Me” work as other choice vehicles for cerulean-tinted release with the former almost sounding like a Tom Waits outtake in its blend of loping, capacious drums, trampoline bass and vibrato-laced, bottom register reeds. Popolla’s “Oh Hush” comes on like a Vegas revue by comparison, its funky frenetic groove and tight unisons abetted by Luca Venitucci’s manic organ.

On the free jazz end of the program Roscoe Mitchell’s “Old” and Julius Hemphill’s “Dogon A.D.” are standouts. The former finds the band lurching through swaggering shuffle with Popolla and de Fabritiis veering from extended technique to properly bent Bourbon Street blowing while the latter flexes with barely bridled collective attitude. A version of Marion Brown’s “November Cotton Flower” imagined as tone poem fantasia also works an engrossing seven plus-minutes of calmative wonders. The dub-inflected rendering of Henry Threadgill’s “Bermuda Blues” that closes the album is less effective as a last kind word although Tedeschi and Spera lock on a credible one drop riddim. Derivation directed in the service of collective expression, deprecation of the same be damned.  Derek Taylor

JAZZ&BLUES BLOGSPOT (USA)
http://jazzandblues.blogspot.it/2017/08/roots-music-last-kind-words-clean-feed.html

Proving that music is truly a universal language, the Italian group Roots Magic delve deep into the history of American blues and jazz and create an exciting and contemporary sound that honors the originators while taking a thoroughly modern approach. The group consists of Alberto Popolla on clarinet and bass clarinet, Errico De Fabritiis on alto and baritone saxophone, Gianfranco Tedeschi on bass, Fabrizio Spera on drums, with guests Luca Venitucci on organ, Luca Tilli on cello and Antonio Castiello providing dub effects. The music is mixed between classic delta blues reinterpretations and free jazz works by blues influenced composers like Julius Hemphill. “Down the Dirt Road Blues” and the title track “Last Kind Words” dig deep into the fertile soil of early blues replacing the otherworldly vocal moan and cry of men like Charlie Patton or Blind Willie Johnson with starkly emotional saxophone and clarinet playing. The sound is raw and earthy, with supportive playing from the rhythm team, it allows the whole band to use the universal language of the blues to excellent effect. Moving into modern jazz, they tackle one of saxophonist and composer Julius Hemphill’s most storied performances, “Dogon A.D.” Deftly mixing their impressive free jazz chops with Hemphill’s blues influenced signposts, they create a fine version of intense and provocative music. Also covered is saxophonist and composer Marion Brown, whose “November Cotton Flower” is given a lengthy exploration by the band with the addition of piano filling out the sound even more as the rhythm section develops an mysterious shifting setting to the music and joins into an excellent collective improvisation with the horns. Both Hemphill and Brown were from the American deep south and they were well versed in the traditions of the blues, bringing that experience to the wonderful avant-garde jazz they created during their careers. Castiello is the secret ingredient to the final piece on the album, “Bermuda Blues (Quasi Dub)” which suggests further avenues of roots music for the group to explore in the future, perhaps delving into Jamaican reggae or dub on future albums. But on this particular track, the band dives deeply into a gutsy free blues improvisation with the core quartet improvising a spiraling and swaying performance that Castiello gently alters and tweaks as the track progresses. This isn’t some sort of gimmick, it works quite well and adds a further dimension to the band’s style of playing. This was a very successful album of blues based modern jazz. The musicians are clearly deeply schooled in the history of jazz and blues, but what emerges in not a stale academic exercise, but a heartfelt and passionate performance.

AUDIOREVIEW (I)  September 2017 

Prosegue l’istruttivo viaggio culturale dei Roots Magic nei meandri del blus trasversale alle epoche, dal folk primigenio delle campagne del sud degli Stati Uniti alle moderne evoluzioni/trasformazioni di quell’immortale fulcro seminale dell’arte sonora nera. Oltre a inserire sempre un paio di originali all’altezza del resto del lavoro (ottimo, “Oh Hush”), i Roots Magic si divertono a manipolare senza forzature e ad aggiornare/ vitaminizzare un secolo di musica afroamericana. Si soffermano indifferentemente su Charlie Patton, Pee Wee Russell, Julius Hemphill, Marion Brown, Hamiet Bluiett, Roscoe Mitchell, Henry Threadgill. Colpisce il ripescaggio di “Last Kind Words” della dimenticata Geeshie Wiley, pioneristica cantante/chitarrista di blues titolare di soli sei brani (biennio 1930-1931), alcuni in duo con Elvie Thomas.
Il disco è ancora su Clean Feed, label portoghese dal buon fiuto. Identici gli elementi del gruppo: Alberto Popolla (clarinetti), Errico De Fabritiis (sax contralto e baritono), Gianfranco Tedeschi (contrabbasso), Fabrizio Spera (batteria. Collaborano qua e là Luca Venitucci (tastiere), Luca Tilli ( violoncello), Antonio Castiello (effetto dub). I Roots Macig ribadiscono una rara dimensione internazionale, a cominciare dalle ricercate concezioni ritmiche, contagiate da un groove sinuoso (indolente in “Old”, minaccioso in “Tom Rushen Blues) capace di incantare chiunque: fondamentali Spera e Tedeschi. Altrettanto progressivi gli impasti dei fiati, ora in atavico “call and response”, ora in fraseggi incandescenti, ora in riff incalzanti: da quello paludoso in “Down The Dirty Road Blues” di Patton al graffio carnevalesco in “Hattie Wall” di Bluiett. Chiude l’esotica lettura dub di “Bermuda Blues” di Threadgill. Prova destinata a rimanere. Enzo Pavoni

GAPPLEGATE MUSIC REVIEW (USA)
http://gapplegatemusicreview.blogspot.it/

Roots Magic bypasses all the BS out there and zeros in on the roots of magic, the magic of the roots and their capacity to renew us time and again. Roots Magic map it out and let their inner fires kindle on the album Last Kind Words (Clean Feed 437). Alberto Popolla on clarinet & bass clarinet, Errico de Fabritiise alto & baritone sax, Gianfranco Tedeschi on double bass, Fabrizio Spera on drums and selected guests here and there tear it up.

The selection of songs-compositions are excellent, perfect vehicles to root it out. A number of Charlie Patton blues numbers are pivotal, around which are situated earthy classics by Roscoe Mitchell, Henry Threadgill, Marion Brown, Julius Hemphill, Hamiet Bluiett, Pee Wee Russell and a couple of originals. It is exactly the right springboard for an avantly soulful outing that gets the blood coursing through your body.
More could be said. It need not be said because this is a lodestone of hip heat!

MUSICAJAZZ  (I) September 2017  

Il gruppo che due anni fa ha sparigliato le scena italiana con un miscuglio che cortocircuita blues del Delta e free jazz, tradizione e innovazione, rispetto delle forme e la loro violazione programmata, ritorna confermando le proprie coordinate espressive e mettendo a profitto un repertorio ben rodato in numerosi concerti. L’impatto complessivo è un po’ meno tonitruante di quello dell’esordio ma l’insieme si avvantaggia, per contro, di una migliore tornitura e di una smagliante messa a punto dei fiati (Popolla e De Fabritiis), in continua rincorsa tra loro, ferme restando le capacità già dimostrate da una ritmica inscalfibile (Tedeschi e Spera), per una compagine che più di ogni altra cosa dà senso alla parola gruppo (ma è doveroso citare lo straordinario livello del drumming di Spera). Tra Charley Patton e Roscoe Mitchell, Julius Hemphill e Geeshie Wiley, Henry Threadgill e Pee Wee Russel, i confini che separano vecchio e nuovo si confondono e ogni assunto diviene meno scontato. Vanno segnalati il brano eponimo,Tom Rushen Blues, una versione magistrale di Dogon A.D. e Pee Wee Blues. Non è un caso che si ritorni anche a Poor Me- che fu già nel primo album, Hoodoo Blues- a segnare quasi un arco ideale. Una versione -quasi dub- di Bermuda Blues chiude la scaletta con uno stralunato senso di distacco che prelude al futuro.  Sandro Cerini

NA MIRA DO GROOVE (Spain)
http://namiradogroove.com.br/blog/jazz/melhores-discos-jazz-julho-2017-hermeto-pascoal

Na seleção dos 10 melhores discos recentes de jazz, a parceria de Amilton Godoy e Léa Freire, um excelente álbum italiano de free-jazz e mais

Não vou mentir: quando ouvi pela primeira vez Last Kind Words, fiquei estremecido. É um grupo da Itália, formado por Alberto Popolla (clarinete e clarinete-baixo), Errico De Fabritiis (sax alto e barítono), Gianfranco Tedeschi (contrabaixo) e Fabrizio Spera (bateria). A proposta é trazer a inventividade do delta-blues lá do começo do século XX, de caras como Charlie Patton e o obscuro Geshie Wiley, a um som inventivo de free-jazz, com arrojo nos metais e uma integração magnânima entre os músicos. Dizendo assim, nem parece que se trata do segundo disco do Roots Magic (importante notar: quando se trata de jazz, primeiros discos são vistos como uma etapa de amadurecimento, não é como no pop ou no rock, que geralmente traz o lado mais enérgico das bandas). Logo na primeira faixa, “Down the Dirt Road Blues”, o diálogo entre Alberto e Errico transporta o ouvinte lá para aquelas plantações de algodão do sul dos EUA, num trem que faz questão de revisitar o passado. Como o blues pode estar tão conectado ao free? Ora, trata-se de duas legítimas expressões da música negra. Ouça temas como “Oh Hush” e “November Cotton Flower” e dá pra perceber o quanto estes músicos aprenderam ouvindo Art Ensemble of Chicago, Henry Threadgill, Albert Ayler e afins. “Talvez apenas músicos que não sejam norte-americanos podem estar a uma distância certa para imaginar algo dessa dimensão”, diz o texto de divulgação. Honrosa homenagem.

TOM HULL BLOG (USA)
http://tomhull.com/blog/archives/2546-guid.html

Roots Magic: Last Kind Words (2016 [2017], Clean Feed): Italian group, second album: Plumbs a deep blues base drawing on Charlie Patton and similarly influenced jazz musicians like Julius Hemphill and Marion Brown, tuned up to a fine fury. A- (very good record)  Tom Hull  – Rated Records of the week

JAZZTHING (D)

Manchmal liegt die unerhörte Faszination ja auch einfach im Altbekannten. Das italienische Quartett Roots Magic zelebriert den Blues durch de 3-D-Brille der AACM. Auf ihrem zweiten Album „Last Kind Words“ stehen Kompositionen von Charley Patton und Pee Wee Russell ungebrochen neben Originalen von Henry Threadgill, Julius Hemphill, Marion Brown oder Roscoe Mitchell. Wenn Out-Jazz-Klassiker wie Threadgills „Bermuda Blues“ oder Hemphill „Dogen A.D.“ in süffigen Updates mit zwei Holzbläsern, Bass und Schlagzeug erklingen, macht das diebischen Spaß.

SANDY BROWN JAZZ (UK)
http://www.sandybrownjazz.co.uk/whatsnew.html

This is the first time I have come across this interesting Italian band that combines some fierce improvising with traditional melodies.  This is an album of the blues, and it’s great fun.  Tunes from Charlie Patton and Pee Wee Russell jostle alongside modern blues from free-jazz exponents Julius Hemphill and Henry Threadgill and all get the same treatment.  In various instrumental combinations the two front-line horns approach the material with a 21st century mentality – even converting Henry Threadgill’s Bermuda Blues into a dub rhythm. This isn’t a parody, the tunes are treated with proper respect and the whole thing is driven along by steady rhythms, but the improvising is at times ferocious.  For some reason the mixture of blues, funk and free-jazz seems to work well. The rhythm section may be known to some. Spera has played with the London Musician’s Collective and with John Butcher.  Tedeschi has played with visiting Americans including Wadada Leo Smith. Both the horn players are new to me and both are worth keeping an eye on.

MULTIKULTI PROJECT  (Poland) 
http://www.multikulti.com/last-kind-words.html

Ekstatyczny, kolektywny jazz napędzany zgrzebnym bluesem to znak rozpoznawczy włoskiego Roots Magic.
Pierwsza płyta ‘Hoodoo Blues’ z 2015 roku wbijała w fotel.
Tak pisaliśmy o debiucie: (…) Kwintet włoskich muzyków, który przyjął nazwę Roots Magic nagrał porywającą płytę, która może stanowić kolejny ważny punkt orientacyjny w historii tych dwóch gatunków. Konwencja tej płyty polega na swoistym collage’u tych dwóch stylistyk (jazzu i bluesa), a nawet epok (tradycyjnego bluesa i epoki free jazzu). Wybitne umiejętności muzyków (ten skład wydaje się nie mieć słabego punktu, każdy muzyk wykorzystuje tu swój wielki potencjał) podporządkowane są tu formie i dramaturgii. A dzieje się tutaj wiele!
Roots Magic postawi na nogi tych, którzy dali sobie spokój z tradycją jazzową, z muzyki zespołu płynie coś, co w surrealistycznej formie stawia znak zapytania nad gatunkowymi podziałami, które włoscy rozrabiacy rozbijają w pył (…)
Po takim debiucie trzeba albo zakończyć pracę, albo wsiąść do futurystycznej maszyny Elona Muska. Inne opcje skazane są na klęskę. Jedno jak i drugie wymaga jednak wielkiej odwagi. Lektura ich najnowszej płyty ‘Last Kind Words’ dowodzi, że odwagi i co najważniejsze narzędzi do realizacji najbardziej zwariowanych pomysłów mają aż nadto. Dźwiękowe misterium, ekstatyczny mariaż brutalności i namiętności. Dzięki wartkiej narracji, dobrze zarysowanym muzycznym wątkom, fenomenalnym improwizatorom, celującym w kolektywnym szaleństwie, kapitalnym aranżacjom tematów zanurzonych w kulturowych rytuałach, płyta trzyma w napięciu od pierwszego do ostatniego dźwięku. A momenty, kiedy freejazzowe szaleństwo zderza się z ludycznością melodyjnych tematów Charley’a Pattona, Juliusa Hemphilla, Mariona Browna, Pee Wee Russella czy Henry’ego Threadgillaz z motoryką kapeli bluesowej są po prostu zachwycające.
Klarnecista Alberto Popolla, saksofonista Errico De Fabritiis, kontrabasista Gianfranco Tedeschi i perkusista Fabrizio Spera, ze wsparciem przyjaciół z polotem poruszają się w międzygatunkowej materii mocnych bluesowych tematów, wiele czerpiąc ze afroamerykańskiego jazzu, spuścizny międzygatunkowej psychodelii, oraz kolektywnej improwizacji. Witek Leśniak

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Hoodoo Blues & Roots Magic

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PRESS QUOTES
The Wire

Dark was the Night becomes a primitive riverside aubade with didjeridoo-like clarinet shrieks, tumbling toms and yearning alto sax prayer… the Joint is Jumping is boiling Free Jazz with sharp horn charts embedded in savagely ricocheting drums 

Bird is the Worm
http://www.birdistheworm.com/this-is-jazz-today-indigo-kid-roots-magic-drifter-deric-dickens-jarrett-gilgore-duo-and-nick-finzer/

A convergence between the soil of old-school blues and the space of forward-thinking jazz improvisation.  Music that displays qualities of structure and wild abandon, sometimes simultaneously, sometimes alternating with one joyous wave after the other.

Jazztimes
http://jazztimes.com/articles/170340-hoodoo-blues-roots-magic

Highlights include a remake of Johnson’s “Dark Was the Night,” featuring Tedeschi and DeFabritiis immersed in a miasma of ghost-like clatters, clangs and moans from percussionist Fabrizio Spera and clarinetist Alberto Popolla; the Hispano-funk jubilance of Cohran’s “Unity,” on which Popolla’s burr-tone declamations evoke Saturday night and Sunday morning with equal fervor; and the juxtaposition between edge-of-chaos jubilance and dark-hued introspection on Tedeschi’s “The Joint Is Jumping.” Echoes of artists like Archie Shepp, Albert Ayler, Eric Dolphy and others  resonate throughout, but they’re effectively reimagined and recontextualized.

Ken Waxman – Jazzword
http://www.jazzword.com/one-review/?id=129034

High energy and theatrical, the band intuitively grasps the mixture of seriousness and satire that characterizes the Ra oeuvre. The horn players’ musical sophistication is such that either can provide a tune with Benny Goodman-like schooled glissandi or Jackie McLean-like serrated vibrations. Bassist Tedeschi demonstrates his spiky bottle-neck-like command despite having only four strings rather than a guitar’s six, when he takes the lead on Johnson’s “Dark was the Night” and Patton’s “Poor Me.” Spera maintains the rhythmic flow, while on the former the reeds buzz as if they were country harmonicas, and on the latter Defabritiis’ extended technique and wide octave leaps provides a 21st century instrumental variant on the Delta Blues singer’s melisma. With its heavy bass line and tremolo organ riffs Dara’s gospelish “I Can’t Wait Till I Get Home” is the perfect ending with stunning counterpoint between the keys and horns and the bassist again holding fast both to the theme and the Blues-Jazz tradition.

Dusted Magazine
http://dustedmagazine.tumblr.com/post/127160303574/hoodoo-blues-roots-magic-st-clean-feed

The basic quartet plays with commitment, energy and invention, with a consistent blues feel that’s no museum piece or ideological statement. Just good tunes.

FreeJazz Blog
http://www.freejazzblog.org/2015/10/roots-magic-hoodoo-blues-clean-feed-2015.html

on Blind Willie Johnson’s “Dark Was The Night” Tedeschi hands the melodic line off to DeFabritiis before bringing out the bow, and the song swells above the sea storm of Spera’s cymbals and mallets. Here the group not only captures the haunting mood of the 1927 original but uses it as a point of departure for what develops into such a personal, organic, and emotional musical experience 

AllAboutJazz Italia
http://www.allaboutjazz.com/hoodoo-blues-alberto-popolla-clean-feed-records-review-by-vincenzo-roggero.php

Clarinetto e sassofono sono intense voci narranti, capaci di avvolgere con un suono scuro e ancestrale così come di liberare furiosa energia, raccontare storie di speranza e di rivolta o cullare nell’indolenza di dolci nenie. Mentre contrabbasso e batteria assicurano una pulsazione vitale senza pause, granitica nel fornire certezze ritmiche, elastica nell’assecondare e sollecitare opportuni cambi di registro.
È musica che ricorda lo scorrere del Mississippi, fiume culla del blues, a tratti irruente e nervosa a tratti placida e maestosa, capace di improvvisi moti di ribellione come di ipnotiche e ammalianti melodie, sempre comunque terreno fertile per le continue invenzioni presenti in Hoodoo Blues.

Altrisuoni
http://www.altrisuoni.eu/hoodoobluesrootsmagic

Si ascolta tutta la musica nera americana, quella che dalle origini del blues giunge alle avanguardie degli ultimi decenni passando per il free degli anni Sessanta, in questo bellissimo disco edito dall’etichetta portoghese CleanFeed. Vi si ritrovano echi del delta del Mississippi insieme alle sonorità che furono di Ornette Coleman e di Eric Dolphy, eppure parliamo di una band tutta italiana in cui ad una ritmica cadenzata di stampo africano si contrappongono le sortite solistiche di rara espressività da parte dei fiati.

Jazz from Italy
http://jazzfromitaly.blogspot.it/2015/12/hoodoo-blues-roots-magic-le-mie-radici.html

Battono, soffiano, accarezzano e colpiscono i ROOTS MAGIC, incuranti dei confini portano nuova linfa a vecchi brani che, attraversando la storia afroamericana, sondano in un nuovo territorio finalmente globale. Roberto Arcuri

Alberto Bazurro – L’isola della musica italiana
http://www.lisolachenoncera.it/rivista/rubriche/sax-crescente-con-fumetto-finale/#.Vt3QCxmSMqA.mailto

Certo più avanti, per identità, tratti distintivi e mordente, appare Hoodoo Blues (Clean Feed) del quartetto Roots Magic. Intanto il materiale tematico è di prim’ordine (Julius Hemphill, John Carter e Sun Ra fra gli altri), poi il trattamento, come si diceva in possesso di una sua unitarietà stilistica, è inventivo, vivace, qua e là con qualche lieve eccesso di misura ma con efficaci geometrie interne, di regola piuttosto fitte.

Magici e fiduciosi nella magia della musica (come solo chi non è “culturalmente” nato con quella musica può esserlo) i cinque colpiscono nel segno Enrico Bettinello – Blow Up

Suoni pastosi, ritmo trascinante, astrazioni fulminanti. Quello che sa fare il popolo del Blues  Gennaro Fucile – MusicaJazz

Excellente nouvelle formation en provenance d’Italie. Un jazz enraciné dans la tradition blues, mais punché et joyeux  Camuz Musique Montreal

Roots Music delve deep into the history of American blues and jazz and create an exciting and contemporary sound that honors the originators while taking a thoroughly modern approach  Jazz & Blues Blogspot

Blues do Delta do Mississipi, free dos anos 60 e afro-funk remisturados, com convicção, humor e energia, por um quarteto italiano. Não é preciso ter nascido em New Orleans para ter os blues a palpitar nas veias  Observador – os melhores discos de Jazz de 2015 

A magia vem de quatro italianos que dao a este repertorio uma vitalidade e calor que fazem parecer estioladas e afectadas tantas bandas que vivem com os olhos postos no pasado  Time Out – Lisboa

De groep Roots Magic levert een sterke plaat af  Herman Te Loo – Jazzflits NL

Hoodoo Blues restores my zeal for life on Earth  There stands the glass – Kansas City’s Original Music Blog

Un album di grande esito, che riesce a fondere blues e free, attualizzandoli e mantenendo appieno la ritualità dei due ambiti espressivi, in modo affatto naturale e privo di astrazione autoreferenziale, portando anzi costantemente la musica, sempre viva e pulsante verso l’ascoltatore. In un flusso compatto, dominato dalla tradizione vecchia e nuova. fortemente consigliato  Sandro Cerini – MusicaJazz

Hoodoo blues & Roots Magic è un disco che trova il blues nella musica di Julius Hemphill, John Carter e Sun Ra, Cogliendone la dimensione del racconto, del rito e della danza, rintracciando in un repertorio jazzistico la voce più tipica del blues, che si nutre di ambivalenze e ambiguità, in bilico tra lacerazione, saggezza e ironia  Antonia Tessitore – Internazionale

Roots Magic, la forza antica delle radici. Il quartetto impone nella sua vivida e scabra forza espressiva un repertorio spesso rimosso integRato dall’originale e dolente Blues for Amiri B e l’espolsiva The Joint is Jumping. Non sara facile liberarsi del Blues nel XXI secolo  Luigi Onori – Il Manifesto

Un immaginaria sceneggiatura ambientata tra la ventosa Chicago e l’umida New Orleans. E’ l’esperanto aspro e pulsante dei Roots Magic, fautori non conformistici di un’avanzata ipotesi di Blues e delle sue folte ramificazioni, Il gruppo nostrano dimostra che non bisogna essere per forza di Baton Rouge, Chicago o Fort Worth per rigenerare la Musica del Diavolo più terragna e per declinarla in aggiornati sincretismi  Enzo Pavoni – Audioreview

American Magazine
http://www.theamericanmag.com/article.php?article=4868
Multukulti Blogspot 
http://multikultiproject.blogspot.it/2015/09/roots-magic-hoodoo-blues-clean-feed.html
Jazzflits (NL)
http://jazzflits.nl/jazzflits14.08.pdf

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