Roberto Ottaviano Koïné:
Hybrid and Hot
Recorded in 1995
|1/||The New Hymn||Carla Bley||5:06|
|2/||The Loser||Roberto Ottaviano||7:03|
|4/||The Dark||Carla Bley||9:02|
|5/||A Natural Hero||Roberto Ottaviano||7:35|
|8/||The Planets||Roberto Ottaviano||2:46|
Recorded on July 4 & 5, 1995 at Mu-Rec Studio - Milano (Italy). Engineer: Paolo Falascone.
Producers: Giorgio Mortarino & Peppo Spagnoli.
The choice of three Carla Bley compositions and one by Steve Lacy is no mere happenstance. Bley's early work, Batterie , was first recorded in 1964 by a barraging Paul Bley quintet. The New Hymn dates from her own 1974 Dinner Music, although it has emotional roots that seem to stretch back (...). Lacy, of course, was one of Carla's collaborators in those adventurous days, having explored the Monk canon as a prelude to his own burgeoning compositional efforts: Raps first appeared on a 1977 release and has remained an exhilariting item in his book since then.
Their inclusion in this programme creates one point of reference from which we may gauge Roberto Ottaviano's compositional approach (little needs to be said about his work as a soprano saxophonist - the bite and beauty of his playing has been well documented on previous Splas(h) discs, and his solos here are up to his own high standart).
Ottaviano's structural strategies employ notated themes and improvised counterpoint, varieties of chiaroscuro, colour, texture, shared flavours and feelings adapted from this rich tradition. However, the programmatic content the music suggests may also be read as an allegory of The Loser (introduced by muttering horns), who must undergo confrontations with warriors, Nature and the underworld before emerging into the light of the cosmos as a constellation, heroic and free.
As fanciful as this interpretation may seem, the challenges which Ottaviano's musical environment create for the musicians, and their succesful endeavours, are symbolic of such mythic circumstances. There are of course other viewpoints possible, focusing on the individual talents and exceptional contributions of the musicians, or placing the unusual intrumentation and voicings of this group - the brassiness and warmth of the timbres, the blending or prickly sparks of texture - into the historical context of Ottaviano's work with the Six Mobiles, his own overdubbed solos, and his position as a valued member of Franz Koglmann's Pipetet. Pardon, if you must, my personal point of view. But credit Ottaviano and his cohorts for the multidimensional breadth of his music. As Lester Young opined, every solo should tell a story. These do.
Art Lange (excerpt from liner notes)