FABRIZIO CASSOL — VSPRS (review)

FABRIZIO CASSOL — VSPRS album cover Album · 2006 · Third Stream Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
Sean Trane
During Cassol’s residence at Brussel’s Opera de La Monnaie (I think it lasted more or lass a small decade), he kept his Aka Moon relationship alive, not only by managing to have the band play three or fpour concerts in the opera house (it’s a first to my knowledge), but also involving the band in his first two “solo” ventures. Of these two Cassol-directed projects, the first is this VSPSR orchestra collaboration, an amalgam of the three Aka and a bunch of wind-players (anywhere between one and six, depending), a duet of string players and some three opera vocalists adapting (read modernizing) Monteverdi’s Vespro Della Beata Virgine, with the goal of mixing musicians from very different backgrounds: classical, gypsy and our jazz trio. While the Monteverdi work’s modernization passes through some jazzmen (Aka Moon), it’s hard to call/tag this type of work as “Third Stream”, though it wouldn’t be unreasonable either to do so.

Musically, the original work is sometimes totally turned upside down and outside in, as Aka’s rhythm section and the two gypsies are creating a minor revolution that would have most dusty old operaheads screaming for murder. Indeed, while some movements are still quite traditional classical, other pieces are mainly ethnically percussive (Dance Hyo Seung), others are close to a “jazz-rockier” sound, creating a constantly changing soundscape. It might seem a little strange to say that despite this being a Cassol project, on stage/studio/disc, it is more Hatzi and Galland that are more audible, but the trio soars like never before in Laetatus Sum.

Played live on stage, the music was also danced to, and believe me, this was not a tutu ballet thing. If the present project has found (no doubt) grace to your ears, you can indeed follow-up with Cassol’s next project (released two years later), which is a very similar project (this time on a Bach piece), albeit with a totally different cast of musicians, except for the three Aka. Really worth lending an ear to it.
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