Elements of Toshiko Akiyoshi’s big band, alpine folk songs, bop and world music creep into the Gianluigi Trovesi Octet‘s Les Hommes Armes (Soul Note, out now). The album is largely based around two 16-minute long compositions, “Ambulat Hic Armatus Homo” and “On Va Marcher.” “Ambulat” concludes with “L’Homme Arme,” a melody line that dates backs to the chants from the Middle Ages, but along the way moves between the lushness of a didgeridoo and the shrieks of a piccolo. “On Va Marcher” is less impressive (too much electric bass), but just as mixed: trad jazz elements are fused with electronic noise. The real gems are shorter compositions, however. “T’Ungo,” “Tengo” and “Tingo” — all variations on, you guessed it, the tango, are short, cartoonish romps filled with upbeat horn interplay.
Originally published in the May 30, 1997, edition of epulse (3.21).