Claudio Scolari | Principal Records (2019)
03.12.2019 by Leonid Auskern
Only two surnames appear among the contributors to the recording of the Claudio Scolari Project's Upside Down: Scolari and Cavalca. If I'm not mistaken, each of the surnames represents two generations of one musical family. It all started with a meeting of two very creative Italian musicians of the same profile: drummers. Claudio Scolari (born 1962), a graduate of the College of Music in Parma, was equally successful in pursuing a career in academic music and avant-garde jazz. He has worked with many of the world's leading and well-known conductors and symphony bands, while at the same time releasing a number of jazz albums under his own name. Daniele Cavalca (born 1987) studied not only in Italy, but also at the famous Berkeley Jazz College in the USA. This musician has played in a wide variety of compositions performing both rock music and jazz, and has also participated in opera productions. In the summer of 2008, Claudio invited Daniele to collaborate on an original project with a dialogue between two drum kits. As this idea progressed, the musicians' arsenal was replenished with more and more new instruments, and then the member of the previous recordings Claudio, the trumpet player Simone Scolari, joined the duo. Like the Claudio Scolari Project, the musicians released three albums, and Upside Down became their fourth disc, and here the ensemble turned into a quartet with the connection of Michele Cavalca on electric bass.

Claudio and Daniele call Upside Down "... a revolutionary album because for the first time everything was recorded live, in one session, all together." It is difficult for me to judge the innovation of this work, since this is the first meeting for our site with the music of the Claudio Scolari Project, but one thing I can say for sure: Upside Down leaves a very vivid impression. The program of ten compositions, with a total duration of about an hour, certainly attracts with the obvious uniqueness of the sound: a duet of two percussionists, especially effective, for my taste, in Twister, is not often met. But the sound palette of the album is much larger. Both acoustic piano and electronics, and very interesting interactions between trumpet and piano (for example, in Underground Soul) decorate and diversify the sound. Add to this an organic combination of acoustics and electronics, add interesting, effective and varied in melody and rhythm pieces (here you can call Smoke in C Minor, And I'll Make You Smile, and Wired) - and you will get a distant idea of how Italian musicians play. It is difficult to speak about a clearly expressed definite style of this music: elements of academic music and jazz avant-garde are intertwined here in a very intricate way. In any case, this is the avant-garde that brings the listener closer to itself, and does not repulse with deliberate pretentiousness. You can judge it yourself from the video version of the song Wired.