Gianni Gebbia: alto saxophone
released September 30, 2013
Originally released on Rastascan Records 1998
Recorded in Oakland Ca. at Guerrilla Recording by Myles Boisen
February 28th 1997
Executive producer: Gino Robair
Production assistance by Dan Plonsey
Design by Tania Kac
Full booklet and cover plus liner notes acquiring the download
Sax player and composer GIANNI GEBBIA (1961) is considered among the best
solo saxophone performers of the second generation of solo improvisors (along with Ned Rothenberg, Kang Dae Hwan, Jon Gibson) his music has been featured in many movies, documentaries, dance theatre pieces.
Gebbia's music ,since his beginnings in the 80's,has been deeply rooted in the tradition coming from the italian islands of Sicily and Sardinia where he has been in touch since young age with several launeddas masters and other traditional music and soon after, he has discovered free jazz and improvised music
Gianni Gebbia has collaborated with hundreds of great artists of every discipline among which: Peter Kowald, Fred Frith, Pina Bausch, Masaki Iwana, Samm Bennett, Vanessa Redgrave, and toured mostly as soloist all around the world.
Recently, many young solo saxophone specialists, declared and showed to be influenced by his peculiar style using circular breathing in the so called " polyphonic illusions " approach as in the case of Ryoko Ono, Colin Stetson, John Berndt and many others.
His biography is featured in the Encyclopedia of Jazz by Brian Morton (Penguin Books ).
"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 1999
"Given the manner in which Anthony Braxton defined recorded improvisation for the alto saxophone on Delmark's seminal For Alto in the late '60s, and then redefined it on Alto Saxophone Improvisations on Arista in the '70s, virtually every saxophonist recording a date of this kind -- whether acknowledging it or not -- owes a great debt to Braxton's pioneering spirit and fluid technique on the instrument. The 17 improvisations that make up Body Limits are most certainly indebted to Braxton but, since Braxton himself felt indebted to Lee Konitz' Lone Lee album, Gianni Gebbia gets to bring the circle to a close around his own playing. Gebbia, whose own lyrical and harmonically inventive playing is a great gift to the Italian jazz scene, wears his influences proudly. Certainly influences like Konitz, Desmond, Hank Mobley, and Cannonball Adderley are more than represented in his melodic style, but sonically, John Cage, Bruno Maderna, Braxton, the early Art Ensemble, and the Revolutionary Jazz Ensemble come to mind. But in his note-for-note playing, altoist Marion Brown comes closer. The warmth in Gebbia's tone and the open-tonal reaching of one microharmony for another without having to bleat through the horn come from Brown. His quiet insistence that -- no matter what -- a note, a rest, and a melody had to be played through to the end is everywhere evident in Gebbia's playing. But Gebbia's melodic and harmonic invention are purely his own; he understands space, time, and the necessity of remaining focused -- check "Amniotico," "Mobius Ring," "Cordelia," or "Monadism" for easy examples. Gebbia has it: the gift to extend what he's learned in order to become who he is. As for everyone else who happens to be listening, they're damn lucky to have recorded evidence of such a great master at work."
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