Witold Lutoslawski National Forum of Music
National Forum of Music November 21-25, 2018
The Italian quartet Roots Magic of clarinetist Alberto Popolla, saxophonist Errico D Fabritiis, bassist Gianfranco Tedeschi and drummer – Fabrizio Spera lived up to its name in full measure. The group played a special selection of old blues classics from the Mississippi delta from the 20s of the last century onwards such as Blind Willie Johnson, Charly Patton and Geeshie Wiley and combined those with pieces of jazz musicians that carried and developed this legacy in a strong manner in(to) the social, political and artistic reality of the 50s, 60s and 70s. On the other hand Roots Magic revived pieces from the lineage of jazz characters such as Pee Wee Russell, Marion Brown, Sun Ra, Phil Cohran, John Carter, Kalaparusha McIntyre, Ornette Coleman, Julius Hemphill and Roscoe Mitchell. The concert, including introductory stories about these musical characters in the context of their time, provided illuminating confrontations and comparisons about influences, influences that numerous present musicians have adopted, imitated, absorbed, transformed unsolicited day in, day out as a matter of course, often even without being aware of it.
While ‘old’ music in jazz very often is transformed, this group went in the opposite direction, working from a reconstructive view of a bygone cultural practice and came up with its very own, stripped-down essential version of it as a present mirroring echo. Roots Magic dwelled on these sources and highlighted/honored it as a crucial influence upon the jazz field—a refreshing, exhilarating, relevant and necessary contribution to this or any festival.