Time Milk & Magic
Mu is an open-source project which includes musicians from various origins: born as a piano / percussion duo first with the addition of the sax then of the guitar soon it changed into a quartet, but, loyal to it's inclination, in it's live performances it puts up from time to time other musicians; this time the violinist Marco Galliazzo. Even if the approach is jazzy, it's not easy to tell what kind of music Mu plays, because the interests and awesomeness every musician brings up are really disparate. A thing is sure, the starting point: the concert of Mu are improvisation, there's nothing prepared before. Improvisation rises spontaneous, without any mediation, simply as a flow which derives from the musicians themselves. This kind to proceed very charming - that requires a good harmony and mutual listening - certainly represents a point of strength for the ensemble, but at the same time can fix a limit; in fact improvisation - as musicians know well - even though is free expression of the single, or of the collective, it's not exempt from rules otherwise there's the risk to 'lose ourselves'. More than in Bruzzolo's parallel project (Chaos - read the review of their first CD) where improvisation is somehow or other supported by electronics, with Mu, where electronics is practically absent, the individual skills are very important and undoubtedly they are present. Giacomo Li Volsi is a pianist who draws his inspiration from Keith Jarrett, not specifically of the performance level, but mostly in the construction of the solos: it's evident the use of scales and clusters searching reiterated pedals, well supported by the rhythmic, over which usually the sax improvisations start. Andrea O. Martin is surprising: clearly influenced by Coltrane he's able to drive his soprano sax in very linear way but at the same time to get a considerable intensity. It's really interesting as he's able to create, from a phrase of the guitar or of the piano, or simply from a rhythmical scansion, long and imaginative solos. Also interesting his moderate use of electronics to give particular effects to his sound. Andrea Bolinelli is the rock soul of the ensemble and he turns out a little bit extraneous from the improvvisative process even if he provides a good rhythmical and colour support; fine his rock/blues solo on an ostinato by the piano in the second piece played. Gabriele Bruzzolo provides a constant rhythmic support beating on his drums with precision and good inventive, but when he uses percussions - mostly the dumbek - he's able to create atmosphere with a particular colour. Marco Galliazzo's violin, guest of the evening, was useful to increase the tension in slower rhythmic moments, but he makes himself listening in enjoyable solo moments too. Mu is a good band able to develop a personal and involving sound moving themselves in balance among jazz, avant-garde, rock and blues; the point of strength is certainly the intensity which it's able to emit in the different ambits mostly thanks to the sax, to the intelligent use of the piano and to the polyrhythms of the percussions, while a point of weakness is that their performances are too much tied to the 'feeling' of the moment. Too much improvisation can be an obstacle rather than an advantage; considering the structure of the quartet it would be interesting that they make starting their sound exploration from a common base, a standard, if only of free-jazz or rock tradition (goodness knows why in this moment I'm thinking about Red House by Jimi Hendrix?). A band which, however, must be followed.