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Carlo Actis Dato: USA Tour/April 2001/Live

One of Italian Instabile Orchestra’s merriest pranksters, saxophonist/clarinetist Carlo Actis Dato relies largely on Italian folk music, whether he is working in one of his own groups or in ad-hoc settings like those documented on USA Tour/April 2001/Live (Splasch). If nothing else, the disc confirms Actis Dato’s staying power. Within days, he created otherworldly soundscapes with keyboardist Wayne Horvitz and bassist Reuben Radding in Seattle, mined hard-swinging grooves with bassist Clyde Reed and drummer Dave Storrs in Portland and instigated probative encounters with bass clarinetist Ken Vandermark in Chicago and bassist Damon Short and drummer Gino Robair in Oakland. Unsurprisingly, this is a mixed lot. Actis Dato’s strong rhythmic sensibility prevents the Seattle and Oakland tracks from being mired in two-dimensional abstraction. Vandermark proves to be very compatible with Actis Dato overall, and his penchant for elongating riff-like fragments into engaging metafunk in particular. But it is the well-oiled section of Reed and Storrs that seems to inspire Actis Dato most.

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