MoonJune 2017

Concert realization of a jazz rock formation’s pandemonium dream.



Imbibing too much of slivovitz can harm one’s liver, yet if there’s a group rather than a drink, too much is never enough, and while the title of this album refers to its on-stage provenance, the music captured within is extremely visceral and intoxicating. A collection of pieces representing each of the group’s four albums, from their self-titled 2006 debut to "All You Can Eat" that was released a decade later, the record has an element of surprise instilled in every number, with the Italian ensemble not only making a manic maelstrom out of NIRVANA’s “Negative Creep” im Milan but also bringing out the best in SLIVOVITZ’s own catalogue. Whereas Balkan jazz of “Mai Per Comando” is traditionally easygoing, in funky terms, as soulful brass and blues harp vie for aural space before bass and drums unleash a frantic rush towards the finale, riffs give “Egiziaca” the sharper shade of Ellingtonian allure only to loose the jitter into a shuffle along the way.

The regular tension-and-release approach would be too conforming or comforting for this collective, and they go beyond it on “Cleopatra” whose groovy rattle is dissolved in deceptively dissonant, albeit utterly romantic, nightmare – lit by streaks of sax and six-string strum – which is contrasted with a retro jive of “Currywurst” that could be a chart-topper four decades ago but doesn’t feel outdated even now thanks to energy oozing out of the track’s pores until a violin turns a chamber echo into hoedown. The same instrument ushers pastoral glory in “Mani In Faccia” and shatter it to glittery bits with baroque shine and rock angularity gracefully returning for “Caldo Bagno” with increased intensity – as if to make one’s liver work overtime. There’s a risk of addiction to the album, yet such a risk is worth taking.


May 11, 2018

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