Slivovitz: All You Can Eat
All You Can Eat is most definitely an album that fans of fusion and jazz should be checking out. Hailing from Naples, Italy, this septet of eclectic gypsy jazz offers a sound that I find to be absolutely fresh. Songs like “Barotrauma” show real flavor and a dash of romance as a result of bringing folky traditions onto a canvas of jazz, widening the palette with the presence Di Perri’s harmonica work that is earthy to the core. The opener, “Persian Night,” is another of many examples of the bands nuanced ability to dive into an area of music that is all about the emotion, in this case the strong sense of mystery that is encapsulated in the sum of the band’s interaction and harmonic work. And whether it’s the almost film-score like ethno-jazz journey of “Yahtzee,” or the heavier, rockin’ syncopation of “Passannante,” Slivovitz’s latest is certainly well position to please.
Marbin: Aggressive Hippies
Do you want your music to just be flat-out exciting? Well, that’s pretty much Marbin’s approach on Aggressive Hippies. Virtually every moment has you nodding your head harder than you could believe (like that unreal groove on O’l Neckin) or melting your face off by means of blazing solos or unison lines (such as are all over the place on “African Shabtay” and Y’all All Are Good). The best part though is that the band does this all while managing to be compellingly melodic; when I listened to the killer ethnic influenced melodies they had me in a tight grip, and the way they transitioned suddenly into a breakdown section with ridiculous sax solos was just the icing on the cake. Speaking of which, watch out for Danny Markovitch on that sax, he’s an absolute monster. Not only did the band have me grinning from ear to ear with that sleazy old-time club melody over an aggressively produced rhythm section on “Juke-Point,” but Danny’s solos on that track (and virtually all others) are to die for. There are a few surprises, of course, like that gorgeous, patient, tonal flavor witht he Vai-esque feel of “Intro,” which crescendo’ed perfectly into a fall of sound before exiting just as delicately as it entered, or the near heavy-metal rhythms that came out of nowhere on the closer, “Jambo,” leaving me just as pleasantly surprised at the end of the album as I was at the beginning. Make no mistake, Marbin is dedicated to taking you on a roller-coaster ride of an album, and you’ll be happy you got on.
Delirium International Progressive Group
Delirium International’s latest, L’era della Menzogna is an interesting album to evaluate, and to be fair I would say I probably need a few more listens. For now, my impressions after a couple of spins is that its a very hybrid album. Tracks like the opener, “Linganno del potere,” and “Basta” both show some very heavy moments, but the latter hints at what we see all over the album: a blend of soulful sax and even funky groove. “Il nodo” and “L’era della Menzogna” are evidence of this, with the title track doing lots of heavy lifting to bring together a good fusion of jazz and rock elements. Folk even manages to cruise in a bit on a few tracks, with a prime example of this being “Fuorilegge,” an interesting experiment in blending pop, folk, and syncopated rhythms, while the epic closer, “Il castello del mago Merlino” getting a more traditional treatment of folk within a prog scope. Just to put in a brief word on “Il castello del mago Merlino,” be sure to check this piece out if you’re into RPI in general. While I wouldn’t say it’s thoroughly ‘old school RPI,’ it is melodic as heck and is through and through what we’d expect from a solid Italian prog record in 2016. In the end, it’s good to see such a classic band as Delirium joining up with some new blood, especially with the addition of vocalist Alessandro Corvaglia, and releasing a record which is enjoyable from start to finish and doesn’t just fall into the trap of trying to make the same records they were making in the 70’s.