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I Compani: Fellini

I Compani has been around since 1985, and its mandate hasn’t changed much at all since. The ensemble, formed and still directed by alto and tenor player Bo van de Graaf, devotes itself to the music of Nino Rota, whom film fans will recognize as Federico Fellini’s Bernard Hermann. Over the years, van de Graaf and other members of the band have fattened the band’s book with original compositions in the style of Rota, but it’s Rota’s work that still forms the core of I Compani’s output. Fellini (IcDisc), a collection of Nota and van de Graaf compositions performed live, marks the band’s second decade, and by now this routine is old hat. The band performs Rota’s surreal folk music, minor-key ballads and carnival marches with balance and precision, saving the longer solos for van de Graaf’s more atmospheric and open-ended pieces. Pieter Douma’s electric bass gives the music a slightly funky touch, but the overall mood is respectful. For the curious: Fellini pulls from La Dolce Vita, 8 1/2, La Strada, Juliet of the Spirits, Amarcord and Casanova.

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