Gianni Gebbia

1961
Palermo, Italy

I think it's important to situate Gianni solo playing in the space coming from the Braxton/Parker at Pisa in the early eighties mould, but just as importantly, from the Sardinian launeddas tradition. A lot of what he plays comes much more directly from the latter (including the "8 bar modal folk-tune repeated over and over, with unbelievable superimposed variation" that you allude to) Launeddas is always played with circular breathing (they learn by trying to evenly blow bubbles in a glass of water through a straw while breathing through the nose) and they've been doing it a hell of a lot longer than Evan (or Roland Kirk!).

Fred Frith

Phonometak Series #6

wal115
Phonometak Series 6
April, 2009
10inch LP
6 tracks
26 minutes

Gianni Gebbia Sicilian saxophonist and improviser, from the mid 80′s Gianni is working in improvised music and avant-garde jazz scene in Europe. In 1990 he won the prize for the Top Jazz talent in the magazine Musica Jazz. Gianni Gebbia has participated in numerous festivals including: Bolzano, Clusone, Bucharest, Berlin Total Music Meeting, Taormina, Wuppertal, Paris, London, Marseille, Mulhouse… and collaborated with tons of artist like Evan Parker,Fred Frith, Otomo Yoshihide, William Hooker, Lee Ranaldo, Jim O’ Rourke, Italian Instabile Orchestra, Roy Paci, Francesco Cusa, Lukas Ligeti, Weasel Walter, Wu Ming 1.

Miss Massive Snowflake: The man behind this monicker is Shane De Leon, former trumpet player and vocalist in Rollerball. In the band Miss Massive Snowflake he his at the head of a handful of fellow playing music between songs and rock, hip-hop, country and more, always pushed by a psychedelic soul.

The Williamsburg Sonatas

wal055
January, 2005
CD
8 tracks
41 minutes

Lukas Ligeti’s background encompasses jazz, avant-rock, and contemporary composition, and he eases that experience into his playing. Massimo Pupillo is an electric bassist with the Italian noise rock band Zu who has collaborated with everyone from avant folkie Eugene Chadbourne to former Can singer Damo Suzuki, not to mention Chicago reedist Ken Vandermark. Luckily his baggage here includes the rhythm, but not the stultifying beat of pop music. Meanwhile, Sicilian alto saxophonist Gianni Gebbia is a free jazz player who adapts the musical sounds of the Mediterranean to his work with his own bands and alliances advanced with fellow improvisers in locales such as California’s San Francisco Bay area. Working in a style that draws from Ornette Coleman as well as seaside balladeers, the alto saxophonist invests these tunes with techniques that range from tongue stops and altissimo smears to pitch-vibrated growls and smeared flutter tonguing. Ligeti’s accompaniment encompasses ruffs, bounces, strokes and drags. He can sound a backbeat as well as any rocker; introduce unique timbres from drum tops, claves and wood blocks that relate to the beats advanced from so-called primordial players; or alter stick-on-stick pulses and rim shots to resemble the inventions of musique concrète. And ranging from R&B-style thumb pops, claw-hammer frailing, rhythmic strums and jazzy fills, Pupillo’s electric bass style provides whatever pulse is necessary for each tune. Somehow he’s capable of producing arco-like wave forms, but as a rule he mostly confides himself to timekeeping, allowing the other two foreground freedom. Making the most of this, the saxophonist undulates straight lines, squeals with glottal punctuation, pushes almost-inaudible air through his bell, and negotiates unvarying tongue stops. Climax comes with the almost ten-minute “Some Disordered Interior Geometrics.” With the bassist holding straight to the center with ringing tones, the piece unrolls in a welter of surging sax lines and cross-patterning from the percussion. Briefly straying into ethnic music, Pupillo sounds timbres that could come from a lotar or Berber lute, and Gebbia completes the incursion in similar non-Western fashion. Expelling snaky obbligatos and tongue slaps at the same time, he manages to express the exposition and its development simultaneously. With more use of the location than the sonata’s classic form, the three have managed to produce a memorable recording.
Ken Waxman, All About Jazz