Review of The Music of Carla Bley by Andrea Massaria and Bruce Ditmas, Nusica.org, 2016
I have to confess that I feel myself a little bit excited writing these notes about the cd produced by the duo composed by Andrea Massaria and Bruce Ditmas, playing the music of the great Carla Bley.
I’m thrilled about this record because for me to write about Bruce Dutmas today is a great honour as it was an honor to meet him in summer 2016 at the concert he and Massaria played at the Conservatorio Benedetto Marcello in Venice where they played the music of this CD. The reason for my personal admiration for him is due because his record “Pastorius / Metheny / Ditmas / Bley” changed my way of approaching to music, showing me, among other things, a Pat Metheny’s side much more experimental than the works published with the Pat Metheny Group with the ECM and heading towards free jazz.
But the importance of Bruce Ditmas goes far beyond this sporadic personal episode: he can show us a simply impressive career as well as impressive are the names of the great players he played with: Judy Garland, Barbara Streisand, Sheila Jordan . Then he moved to New York where he was able to meet the jazz gigs and to enter in the orchestra of Gil Evans, Enrico Rava’s band with Massimo Urbani, Jaco Pastorius, Pat Metheny, Paul Bley, Chet Baker and many others others.
For this record, his road met with Andrea Massaria, Italian jazz guitarist, jazz guitar teacher at the Conservatory of Venice, an artist with particular artistic path, first born as a classical guitarist, then he moved to traditional jazz and eventually to land of the jazz experimentation and free jazz. Path in which he has recorded numerous recordings with artists such as Francesco Bearzatti, Arrigo Cappelletti, Giancarlo Schiaffini, Rosario Bonaccorso, Glauco Venier, Danilo Gallo, Paolo Birro, Dado Moroni, Stefano Senni, Marc Abrams, Oliver Lake, Robert Bonisolo, Jack McDuff , Bobby Durham, Lee Brown, Shawn Monteiro.
For this cd they chose to deal with the musical writing of the great Carla Bley, whose works from the early 1960s represent creative and empathic musicians such as Massaria and Ditmas a real gold mine from which to draw strong genial ideas and intuitions.
The result is a record with six tracks,t over 45 minutes of music where the two musicians set themselves on common interplay, moving with extreme freedom inside Bley’s compositions, but at the same time respecting her organizational structures, recapturing the deep meaning of her compositions. All of this, without deleting any melodic solutions and both reciting unconventional roles in which none of the artists put the other in shadow, but rather where they both combine a perfect and elegant balance between the sound and the phrasing of their instruments and the silence that in their case acts as the third element of suspension, reflection and musical enrichment.
A really remarkable record that teaches us to listen in a new and innovative way to a repertoire that is rightly part of the jazz and the avant-garde music culture.