Luna Triste

Luna Triste
BVHAAST 9012

Tracks:

1-Fortunella suite (Nino Rota, Bo van de Graaf)
2- Saraghina (Rota)
3- Asa Nisi Masa (v d Graaf)
4- Prova d’orchestra (Rota)
5- Brutto Tempo (v d Graaf)
6- Circo Snap ( Rota)
7- Luna Triste (v d Graaf)

Musicians:

Bo van de Graaf alto/sopranosax
Vera Vingerhoeds tenorsax
Paul Vlieks trumpet
Jeroen Goldsteen vibraphone/keyboard
Frank van Merwijk piano
Carel van Rijn Bassguitar
Fred van Duijnhoven drums
Guest: Joost Buijs trombone (track 6)

Arrangements Nino Rota ’s music:

Bo van de Graaf except : 4 : Frank van Merwijk, Paul Vlieks : 6

Recorded by:  Frank v d Weij at studio 150 Amsterdam sept. 1990

 

Thom Jurek , All Music Guide

Luna Triste is the first album of I Compani's to make a move and break out of the "strictly Nino Rota" repertoire. They may have still been performing Rota's music in front of a film screen for Federico Fellini films, but Bo van de Graaf, the group's composer, arranger, and leader -- as well as a killer alto and soprano sax player -- was gaining more confidence as he got to know his group's strengths and weaknesses. Here, for instance, the album opens with Rota's stunningly risqué tarantella "Fortunella." Van der Graaf's crew moves the tune into an improvisation shortly after the harmony and melody are established. They kick up the rhythm although the changes and balance of harmony to lyrical framework remain. For over nine minutes they use it as both an improvisational jump-off point and a home base. In the middle, however, van der Graaf writes a "Temporale," which is an extended cadenza with improvisation that interweaves Jewish klezmer and hard bop with Rota's harmonic architecture without straying from it once. Rota's own composition makes a return appearance to take the tune out, but what a ride. The disc follows with another short composition by Rota followed by the album's hinge piece, "Asa Nisi Masa," in three parts by van der Graaf. Almost 14 minutes in length, the two most prominent performers -- besides the sax wailing of van der Graaf and tenor wonder woman Vera Vingerhoeds -- are vibraphonist Jeroen Goldsteen and electric bassist Carel van Rijn, who is funky as hell -- even on the Rota tunes. The track begins almost as a film noir theme before Vingerhoeds takes the melody into outer space, swinging it hard into modal territory as the rest of the band tries to keep the theme and its new partner, an Italian folk dance, on the mark. The transitions van der Graaf writes are breathtaking as they move each soloist in and out with little to no fanfare, and concentrate all of the musical and harmonic energy on the collective playing of the septet. And this three-part suite is a mini symphony as the music moves all over the architectural terrain from modal music to Weather Report's earlier lyricism (anyone remember "125th St. Congress"?) to Stan Kenton's spiraling towers of deftly arranged consonance to the Miles/Gil Evans painterly montages of place, space, and sound. All roads end at Goldsteen's minimal and striking vibes solo that sends the whole composition into inner space. The harmonies between the horns in response and van Rijn's bass arpeggios are aural wonders as they slide along the vibes' parallel line and keep it tightly wound. The rest of the album interweaves Rota's short works with van der Graaf's longer improvisation works based on them, and works like a charm. Luna Triste is the beginning of the sonic adventure for I Compani, the one that would take the band across the globe playing festivals. And though it was an auspicious beginning for a band finding its own voice on record, in terms of drama, construction, improvisation, and dynamics, Luna Triste remains I Compani's masterpiece.