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This is the second disc from this particular trio and I must admit that it doesn’t sound like anything else I’ve heard or reviewed recently.

Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG


ELLIOTT SHARP / STEVE PICCOLO / SERGIO ARMAROLI - What Went Wrong (Leo Records CD LR 924; UK) Featuring Elliott Sharp on guitar, soprano sax, computer & electronics, Steve Piccolo on electric bass, vocals & words and Sergio Armaroli on vibes. This is the second disc from this particular trio and I must admit that it doesn’t sound like anything else I’ve heard or reviewed recently. Steve Piccolo once played bass in the original version of the Lounge Lizards (circa 1979-1981) and his been living in Italy for many years and working with different Italian musicians, as well as with Elliott Sharp & Zeena Parkins. Italian vibes player Sergio Armaroli has also recorded with Mr. Sharp a few times in the past, but I can’t tell you much more about him than that.
I really like this trio, the guitar, bass & vibes are often swirling around one another, listening, reacting and conversing, the music is often cerebral with odd samples or sounds used like subtle spice. The enclosed booklet contains texts and poems mostly by Steve Piccolo, much of which is consistently compelling to hear and/or read. The words are like a philosophical diary or just observations of life. Mr. Piccolo doesn’t actually read most of the enclosed words but they are well worth reading while listening to the music which is spacious enough to give us time to read and think about what is being observed or discussed. Mr. Piccolo does a good job of poking fun at cultural norms that surround us in the not too distant past and the current situation. “In the future bandages will be a status symbol” sounds apt as the opening to a poem about growing to resemble something you immensely dislike. “The Expedition” consists of a long spoken word / ethereal music piece with observations similar to William Burroughs’ own view. The title of this disc, ‘What Went Wrong’ is what we ask ourselves when we think we know the answer to assorted problems which end up not working out as planned. Considering all the stress that is going on in our post-pandemic world, it is also something many of us keep asking ourselves. I see that there is no question mark at the end so this is more about figuring out what went wrong. The overall vibe here is one of contemplation. Let’s all listen and think and put away our phones and perhaps, read a good book. Then we can figure out what did go wrong. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG

Ritorna per la seconda volta su Leo Records il trio del vibrafonista Sergio Armaroli insieme agli americani Steve Piccolo alla voce ed al basso elettrico e Elliott Sharp alla chitarra elettrica, sax soprano ed effetti elettronici. Il disco è stato registrato a Milano e poi rimissato e masterizzato in USA. Questa volta troviamo le improvvisazioni dei tre, le poesie di Piccolo ed degli standard, Dearly Beloved, But Beautiful e Beutiful Love, insieme a citazioni di altri standard che appaiono e scompaiono fra le improvvisazioni dei tre. La musica dei tre ha qualcosa di ammaliante, così come le poesie e la voce di Piccolo. Per chi apprezza il genere è certamente un disco molto interessante perché i tre hanno tanto da dire, il loro dialogo funziona e Armaroli si ritaglia uno spazio importante con i suoi assoli, perfettamente in sintonia con la proposta degli altri due. Si chiude con uno standard famoso in cui Sharp è al sax soprano, bravi tutti a misurarsi anche con il passato.

by Vittorio