Photo by Omar Trujillo Luna
Scrambled is right! Here Disaster Amnesiac was, having figured myself used to the Noise and extremely Avant-Garde offerings being sent over from Public Eyesore, and then this one arrives! Not that Disaster Amnesiac is complaining….far from it. Think about it this way: you’ve been served several odd elixers, thick with strange, otherworldly, unnamed tastes, and then a snifter of the finest, smoothest cognac arrives, along with the best of Cuban cigars, and you’re asked to partake of them both. This is one of the feeling that I’ve had as Scrambled! has massaged my ear drums, in regard to previous Public Eyesore releases that I’ve heard. Seriously, my perceptions about it all have indeed been scrambled!
There are many aspects of the this big(ish) band recording to enjoy, not the least of which is the voice of Martina Fadda. I guess it would be safe to say that Fadda is the featured performer herein, as eight of the nine tracks feature her pretty prominently. Stop checking your Facebook status for a second and think back to the preceding paragraph and recall the cognac analogy. Got it? Good, as it’s most definitely her voice that provides a lot of that smooth feel. She also achieves a lovely sensuousness with her delivery in Spanish, Italian, English, and Portuguese. Is there a finer language in which to sing than the latter? If you find it, please let me know. Disaster Amnesiac has reveled at listening to her singing the whimsical lyrics of band leader Ersilia Prosperi. Martina has the kind of Jazz singing voice that relaxes the mind, taking the listener down cool, understated melodic streams. No yelling or shouting here, just really beautiful, skillful vocal technique and execution that runs the gamut through many powerful modes.
Disaster Amnesiac knows from recent personal experience just how complicated it can be to play within a large ensemble, and it’s partly that knowledge that makes listening to Ou’s group interaction such an impressive subjective experience. All of the players navigate Scrambled!‘s charts with skill and zest; they play funky Second Line in S’Ou Abbattadu, Euro-Free, seasoned with Mingus-like Cumbia flavoring, in Gallone Bocca Larga, evoke Bahia beauty choruses inJengi; simply put, this group cooks. Especially impressive is the shimmery post-Chick Corea piano from Andrea Pesce and the deceptively simple drumming from Cristiano De Fabritils that swings madly with bassist Claudio Mosconi. Reeds players Amy Denio and Cristina Pecorario submit great solos and fine harmony playing alongside Prosperi. In that same way that Martina Fadda’s vocals offer many unique moods within Scrambled!‘s duration, so too do her charts, and the players that make up Ou are very much up to it. Disaster Amnesiac has not heard such sounds as these since Mark Apfelbaum’s Hieroglyphics Ensemble was storming stages with Don Cherry in tow.
Additionally, I’d like to submit a request that I Like You, a hilarious, short track of surreal humor, be played before most social functions from now on.
As the shock of the novel sound of this Public Eyesore disc has given way to pure enjoyment of its great tunes and the flair of their International and Jazz fusions, Disaster Amnesiac has found myself transported to mental spaces that have been highly enjoyable and highly musical. If you’re at all interested in Vocal Jazz or large ensemble Jazz, hell, just Jazz in general, you’ll find a wealth of compelling examples of said forms on Scrambled!. It will surely pair well with your perceptions.