Mauro Ottolini - Sousaphonix

Mauro Ottolini is a multi-instrumentalist and his music - rising from the brass instruments he plays, is a varied as the instruments he plays. The use of the trombone and its various mutes, the flashing slide trumpet and the full-bodied but agile saxophone inspires Ottolini to create pieces that express his complex personality, the result of a personal musical history that includes classical, operatic, popular, jazz and Afro-American music.
Within the complex identity game imposed on us by our times, the trombonist and composer's artistic response is to produce modern, dynamic music which passes agilely over stylistic, geographic and temporal frontiers. This doesn't mean casting a net in a post-modern spirit into the world of sounds and fishing out whatever comes up : Ottolini and his musicians ( among whom we find Daniele D'Agaro and Fulvio Sigurta', who play important roles ) move according to a very personal musical compass. This points towards New Orleans jazz ( recalled in a piece, bearing the same name by Carmichael, that begins as a ballad and ends in the sweltering streets of that famous southern city ) , not as a revival, but as a recovery of polyphony, hereby liberally using sound materials and exposing the musical roots of the music. Sousaphonix takes a non-linear route that passes through pieces by Duke Ellington, both lesser known ( Tina ) and Caribbean ( Jamaica Tomboy ), and a tune by Lester Bowie, drippin with groove and feeling ( Charlie M. ), or band-like and shamanic ( Silver Threads Among The Gold ), concluding with a tribute to Steven Bernstein. Little Slide Funk, the name of this chaotic, metallic, liquid piece - that opens ( not by chance ) the album - highlight other poetic trait of Ottolini and his group, in which the younger generation is represented ( Dan Kinzelman on reeds and the transversal Zeno De Rossi on drums ): acoustic instruments ( such as Vincenzo Castrini's accordion ) co-exist and dialogue with their electric counterparts ( Enrico Terranoli's electric guitar, Vincenzo Vasi's theremin ), weaving electronics and effects into the various pieces. The compositional and improvitional concepts may originate as acoustic, but they are subsequently developed along the circuitous paths of electronics and computers. But Ottolini's music maintains its fiery, forceful character, its popular roots and band extractions inserting themselves well into blues and reggae, with a strong narrative sense, demostrating a profound assimilation of the languages of jazz that the trombonist -together with Daniele D'Agaro's masterful tenor sax - manifests in various segments.
In his recent book " Le eta' del Jazz. I contemporanei ( publ. il Saggiatore )", the italian music critic, Claudio Sessa identifies the traits of jazz over recent decades :"the exploration of a new freedom of timbre (...); the strong growth of what we could call "national Schools", aimed at (...) recovering various African roots prevailing to datev; the confirmation of sophisticated Mannerism flowing into the birth of "repertory" jazz, capableof interlacing philological research with the individualistic needs that have always existed in this music ( jazz ).
This words pefectly describe Sousaphonix's music and attest to its fruitul rapport with tradition and the contemporary.
Luigi Onoiri ( Music critic for "Il Manifesto), teacher of Jazz History at the consrvatory "L. Refice" in Frosinone, Italy )