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Dolf Mulder, Vital, no. 555, December 7, 2006

Sextant is the second cd by this Italian composer and improvisor for Ambiances Magnétiques. In 2003 he recorded a cd of improvised duets with Joëlle Léandre. Now he returns with a totally different multifaceted album of nine compositions for a small ensemble. They originated from workshops given by this italian pianist at Nino Rota Conservatory in Monopoli, where he worked with new teaching methodologies. Most compositions are by the hand of Gianni Lenoci himself who graduated from Santa Cecilia Conservatory in Rome and studied improvised music with Mal Waldron and Paul Bley. They are performed by: Adolfo Lavolpe (electric guitar, electronics), Fabrizio Scarafile (soprano saxophone), Francesco Massaro (alto & baritone sax), Francesco Angiuli (doublebass), Marcello Magliocchie (drums) plus Gianni Lenoci himself on (electric) piano, synthesizer and electronics. In the centre of this cd however we hear a work by Morton Feldman: intermissionVI. A piece very close to silence. Tense and breakable. It is as if we are in the centre of a hurricane with this meditative piece, as most other pieces before and after are much more loud, jazzier, etc. intermissionVI is preceded by rothkovariations a piece that is about sound and texture with lots of electronics, plus piano and reeds. The second piece of this album intersezione and the last track of this album notturno frattale are both very otherworldly electronic-only pieces, that are absolutely non-jazz. Most other pieces are very free jazz like works that share similarities with the music of Ornette Coleman of Shannon Jackson. They catch attention most of all because of the very strange combination of odd electronic sounds combined with saxes, drums, etc., like in the opening track or in the title track. The works differ enormously in style and character. I wonder what the underlying musically unifying concept is for this album, if there is any. But of course there is nothing wrong with showing very different faces.