Half Notes: Slivovitz – Bani Ahead (2011)

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A dizzying mixture of muscular, electric guitar-driven jazz ensemble playing and these intriguingly angular Balkan textures, this energetic follow up to the Slivovitz septet’s Moonjune Records debut Hubris builds on that success, even as it adds different musical shadings. See, this isn’t your typical chamber-rock; at times, it threatens — as Riccardo Villari begins whirling around on the violin — to swing wildly of control, a tingly feeling not often felt since Frank Zappa’s passing. Yet the bashing joys of “Egiziaca” are deftly balanced by the roomy enigmas of “Opus Focus.” That gives Bani Ahead, issued today and featuring eight original songs written by guitarist Marcello Giannini and saxophonist Pietro Santangelo, this enduring allure.

‘Half Notes’ are quick-take thoughts on music from Something Else! Reviews, presented whenever the mood strikes us.

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