by Sylvannia Garutch
Barba Lunga is the 20th album by Roger Beaujolais. What is so fascinating about Beaujolais is he is a self-taught English vibraphonist. Beaujolais became well known for his work with the Chevalier Brothers in the 1980’s. He then turned his attention to modern grooves with his Acid Jazz bands: The Beaujolais Band and Vibraphonic. He has also recorded with Robert Plant, Paul Weller, Morrissey, Fairground Attraction, Ed Motta, Tony Allen, Duffy. Neneh Cherry and many others. To say that Beaujolais is adventuresome and not bound by constraints is an understatement. His latest album with the Roger Beaujolais Italian Trio Barba Lunga is a tour de force. He is joined by, Giacomo Dominici: electric, double basses and Alessandro Pivi: drums.
The track, “Barba Lunga” has an interesting melody and form. Set to a straight eight feel, Beauolais’ vibraphone leads the trio through the form. Dominici and Pivi create a full rhythmic bed for Beauolais to spin improvisations over. Midway through his solo the trio segues into an up-tempo swing feel, pushing the excitement and making the track have even more interest and power. Pivi’s brush work adds nice textural interest. Beauolais effortlessly chimes out multiple octave lines that have melody and energy. The trio returns to the original feel for Dominici’s electric bass solo. His playing is melodic and full of colorful lines and harmonies. Pivi’s solo keeps the trio’s pulse alive as he moves various melodic fragments across the kit. This is a trio that has interest and a strong sense of melody and development.
“Mr Non PC” has a wonderful melody and cool title. With a form that pivots between various feels and melodic activity, the trio builds its musical story with meaningful result. Always interacting and listening to each other, the three share a common language and bond that is auditable. Beaujolais’ solo is full of colors as Dominici and Pivi create a background of rhythmic support and colors. Dominici’s solo highlights a flowing rhythm and melodic constancy. The trio finds the emotional core of “Mr Non PC” and fills every nuance of every note with character and energy. The musical energy climbs while still filled with melody, including plenty of interaction between the players. The trio is powerful and certainly creates potent soulful jazz.
Raw, energetic and interactive, Barba Lunga is a worthy listen. Its jagged edges and explorative nature are ripe with stirring performances. Highly recommended and off the beaten path. Just what the jazz doc ordered.