AMN Reviews: Scoolptures – Please Drive-By Carefully

Achille Succi  Combo two @ Zingarò Jazz Club
Achille Succi Combo two @ Zingarò Jazz Club (Photo credit: lorenzog.)

Scoolptures: Please Drive-By Carefully [Leo 671/672]

This two-disc set is the third release from this fine Italian quartet. Mixing improvisation with live electronics, Please Drive-By Carefully is a hybrid of open-form jazz and spontaneous response to unconventionally notated scores.

The four musicians—Achille Succi on alto saxophone, bass clarinet and shakuhachi; bassist/composer/electronics artist Nicola Negrini; Philippe Garcia on drums, prepared guitar and electronics; and Antonio Della Marina supplying sinewaves and electronics—interpret graphic scores derived from the work of British street artist Banksy. The scores are of several different types, among which are some with dots and dashes resembling Morse code, some done in QR code, and some looking like Ferdinand Leger’s paintings of tubular forms.

The realization of the scores takes the form of an interplay between the textures and lyricism of jazz on the one hand, and the timbral possibilities opened up by electronic collage and live processing on the other. The sounds range from the warmly human tones of Succi’s shakuhachi and bass clarinet to the electronically-generated layers that give the quartet its distinctive sonic profile. The tracks are concise and well-focused—all but five of the twenty-four are under four minutes long. Succi’s balanced lyricism and the understory of Negrini’s bass work ensure that the music draws on a vital reserve of emotional depth amid the conceptual rigor.