Last Kind Words Hoodoo Blues & Roots Magic

Last Kind Words

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.


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


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


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


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 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.


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


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.


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.


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

Last Kind Words Hoodoo Blues & Roots Magic

Hoodoo Blues & Roots Magic

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

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.


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

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

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

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

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.


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

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

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
Multukulti Blogspot
Jazzflits (NL)

 Last Kind Words Hoodoo Blues & Roots Magic