GIORGIO GASLINI
Gaslini plays Sun Ra

[Soul Note, www.blacksaint.com]

Let's face it, Sun Ra was an outsider. No wonder, there are few who would actually attempt to cover a Sun Ra piece, let alone record a full album devoted solely to his music. Italian Instabile Orchestra mainstay, pianist Giorgio Gaslini has done other tribute albums - Albert Ayler, Jelly Roll Morton, and Thelonious Monk. None however have been as personal as his take on Sun Ra's music. Gaslini had spent a full year on this project, transcribing and ultimately tweaking Sonny's originals. Rarely transcribed, it's a masterful feat when someone actually attempts to play Sonny's music. Some of the tracks he decided to take on have all but one recorded version that Gaslini had to rely on. Others - "Out in Space", "Discipline 27", "Interstellar Low Ways" - have been played and recorded by the Arkestra dozens of times. Tackling Ra on a head-to-head basis, with only the piano at hand is a challenge nonetheless. Sonny recorded no more than a few solo records. For some reason, his preference was to lead the Arkestra, rather than shine the spotlight solely on himself. It was music, not the ego that played the lead role in every one of Sonny's escapades. Even when Sonny got involved in film [brief interludes in "Space is the Place"], the key thing was the music, surrounded by his ultra-galactic cosmos messages. Gaslini understands all of these things well. His main concern is a clean interpretation of the pieces - ones that will give the listener a firm grasp on what Sonny wanted to put across in his music. The dramatic sense of urgency on "The Perfect Man" [one of those rare Ra pieces] along with the feel of classicism on "Saturn" make for perfect examples of just how personal this tribute is for Gaslini. He saves the best for last in the form of one of my personal favourite Ra tracks "Interstellar Low Ways". Contemplative and quietly stirring, this is Gaslini at his best. No matter what you may say about the straight-laced approach for the pieces he has chosen [why don't you try transcribing pieces from "My Brother The Wind, Vol. 2" and call me when your record is out], it really works well. In fact, Gaslini throws in blues, ragtime and even some classical elements, all of which make for a truly remarkable listen. Now the challenge remains - who can tackle the extensive Sun Ra book next?

-Tom Sekowski


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+ Steve Swell's Slammin' The Infinite - Remember Now
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+ No-Neck Blues Band - Letters from the Earth
+ Keiji Haino/Tatsuya Yoshida - New Rap
+ Masayuki Takayanagi - Action Direct: Live at Zojoji Hall 1985
+ Salamander - Bent Hemlock

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+ THE GENTLEMAN LOSERS - The Gentleman Losers
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>> GIORGIO GASLINI - Gaslini plays Sun Ra
+ BN LOCO - Echo En Mexico
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