Conversation with Africa



1 Simple Sound 0:59
2 Catene 1:08
3 Opportune Divergenze 1:01

Simple sound - Catene - Stasi e ascensione - Opportune divergenze - Ishmael - Coincidenze - Namhanje (Today) - Illusions - Alba Africana



Gianmario Liuni (piano), Daniela Panetta (vocal ensemble director), Sandro Cerino (sax, flutes and clarinets), Giulio Visibelli (sax and flutes),

Tito Mangialajo Rantzer (double bass), Alessio Pacifico (drums), Elio Marchesini (percussion)


Lyrics: Mara Cantoni


original compositions and arrangements: Gianmario Liuni except "Namhanje" (African traditional music) and "Ishmael" (Abdullah Ibrahim)


Milano - October, 16th,18th,19th 2004

Advice Music CD AM006



To be honest, my approach to Africa was inductive. When I felt the need to compose the pieces that I gathered together in this album, I essentially had three ideas in mind. The first was to write music that was rhythmically rich and enthralling; the second was to play on ostinato's like in “Black” and “Upsetting Line” that I had already added to “Altri Porti”; and finally, to create a counterpoint among several melodic lines, both thematic and improvised, that also made use of poli-modal principals. Only after having looked back I realized that my music looked directly toward Africa, whether it be “Black”, terrestrial, and potent africa where music is a collective, social fact, “Arabic” Africa which is mystic and refined, or a synthesis of both. Therefore “Conversation with Africa” was born, a random encounter that developed spontaneously; a magical encounter with intense, magical colors like those of this mysterious earth.

A heartfelt thanks goes to Sandro Cerino for his enthusiastic participation in my project, highlighted by his beautiful, sincere, and extroverted solo's and in the “monumental” instrumental arrangement in “Simple Sound”. Mara Cantoni for the beautiful lyrics to “Simple Sound”. Giulio Visibelli for his excellent harmonic skill and the full, elegant mark he always imprints with his wind instruments. Alessio Pacifico fine drum plater (listen to Coincidenze) always empathetic to my artistic needs. Tito Mangialajo Rantzer because he finds room for incredible rhythmic and melodic variety even where there are ostinato's. Elio Marchesini for the magnificent execution of “Alba africana” and for having given a surprising rhythmic presence and unusual and unsuspected colors to my music Daniela Panetta for the determined direction of the choir (a true pleasure to see her at work). Finally thanks to the splendid choir that generously dedicated itself with passion to the birth of “Simple Sound”.

Gianmario Liuni - (liner notes)



Review taken from "Jazzit":

Gianmario Liuni 's work always seems poised, perceived both in his compositions and in his solos. Nevertheless , in "Conversation with Africa" he chooses to expand the expressive planes in order to render himself solemn, dramatic, strong, and even festive. It is Africa's multiple faces that the pianist wants to illuminate . From the first piece, Simple Sound, very close to Fela Kuti's songs, to more tense moments like Stasi e ascensione , encumbered by that knot of sufferance that we automatically associate with the African world. Sustained by his band members and particularly by the operativeness of his woodwinds and percussion, Luini succeeds in his intent to define his relationship with the African macrocosm; maintaining a dry, minimal instrumental attitude and a scrupulous care for his arrangements - the true key to a successful album that is felt and unconventional.

Gianpaolo Chiriacò - "Jazzit", anno 8 n° 36 Settembre-Ottobre 2006


Review taken from "All About Jazz Italia ":

In these conversations that pianist Gianmario Liuni entertains with Africa, following an approach that he himself calls "inductive", he presents both a comparison and a meeting with a few of the musical styles of the African continent without subordinating his occidental musical identity, one which has been expressed more fully on albums such as "Mottetti". In the center of the work, symbolically and actually, lies the splendid "Ishmael", written by the South African pianist Abdullah Ibrahim, to whom "Namhanje", a song based on an original African chant, is also dedicated. While throwing into relief the role of the rhythms and allowing various African inspirations to show through, "Simple Sound", the first piece and one distinguished by the presence of a vocal ensemble,"Stasi e Ascensione", and "Opportune Divergenze", have more of a sophisticated European structure, even more than a jazz one. Similarly for "Coincidenze" and "Alba Africana", which by nature and composition are reduced to a smaller group.These observations, while descriptive and useful to understand Liuni's style on this album, don't negate the value of the work, which in large part is measured by the skill in which are combined various "European" elements such as the composition, the arrangements for a group that is at times quite large, the distinctiveness of the sound and of their polyphonic interaction. Because of this expertise, the quality of the musicians that accompany Liuni is fundamental, with particular praise going to the winds, Sandro Cerino and Giulio Visibelli.On the whole, an interesting album that strikes one with its originality and clarity.

Neri Pollastri - "All About Jazz Italia", 16-1-2007


Recensione di Steven Loewy "allmusic"