Wednesday 29 June 2022

'Sonoro' by Giulia Barba

'Sonoro' is the new album release from Italian saxophonist and composer, Giulia Barba, who unveils her sophomore album release some nine years after her debut album as a band leader with 2013's 'The Angry St Bernard'.

At the helm of her own sextet, 'The Angry St Bernard' saw Barba play alongside some fantastic musicians including Gidon Nunes Vaz (trumpet), Christian Ferlaino (sax), Sri Hanuraga (piano), Luca Dalpozzo (bass) and Joan Terol Amig√≥ (drums).  Delivering an inspired and wonderfully dynamic record, Barba and company presented a distinct vision for their music masterfully showcasing an eclectic array of styles across the album's eight tracks.

But while it has taken nine years for Barba to officially release her sophomore album, the years in between have seen a healthy amount of music releases positioning the saxophonist amongst a range of artists and ensembles.  Perhaps it was her early fascination with philosophy while studying at the University of Bologna that has enabled such an expansive appreciation for jazz music and a unique ability to regard the genre from a variety of varying perspectives and approaches.  Amongst Giulia Barba's expansive resume, there is the Tanz Frank Tanz project (2015) with saxophonists Conni Nicklaus and Olympia Jensen; her compositions for theatre projects, namely the play 'La Dolce Guerra'; her role within the big band ensemble of the Tower Jazz Composer Orchestra and their 2019 album, 'Trova L'intruso'.

It's a thrilling collection of projects surely born of a genuine fascination with the seemingly limitless and far-reaching capabilities that contemporary jazz has its disposal.

Such bold explorations have reached an exciting peak with 'Sonoro' which looks to completely reinvent Barba's work to date opting for a far more minimalist but wholly more complex aesthetic.  Veering into new directions from the septet and larger ensembles of past projects, Barba now finds herself embracing the creativity of a quartet that pairs her with Daniele D'Alessandro on soprano clarinet, Andrea Rellini on cello and Marta Raviglia on vocals.  With Barba credited for composition, arrangements and bass clarinet, 'Sonoro' draws from the elegance of neo-classical compositions alongside the innovation of ambient or free jazz.

The sublime 'The Everlasting Voices' slowly ushers us into this new and immersive musical soundscape which is almost cinematic in its scope and brought to life through songs like 'Requiem', 'Birth of a New Religion' and 'Bassorilievo', along with its 'Extended' counterpart.

'Sonoro' is a bold and impassioned project and one that positions Giulia Barba as a continuing and burgeoning light within contemporary jazz.

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