forT02: Gravitones + Strings: Live at the BIMhuis.

forT02: Gravitones + Strings: Live at the BIMhuis.
Label: for T
Catalog Number: forT02
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Augusto Forti - clarinet, ukulele (2)
Felicity Provan - cornet, tenor ukulele (2)
Paul Pallesen - banjo, el. guitar (3)
Gregg Moore - banjo, tuba (3), mandolin (4)
Joost Buis - lapsteel guitar, trombone (3)
Mary Oliver - violin
Tristan Honsinger - cello (1,3,5)
Alex Waterman - cello (2,4)
Meinrad Kneer - double bass (1,3,5)
Wilbert de Joode - double bass (2,4)
Han Bennink - drums & percussions (1,3,5)
Michael Vatcher - drums & percussions(2)


Track Listing:
1. gasaku (9:04)
2. gasuto (4:11)
3. gasiform (18:44)
4. gasonata (2:44)
5. twice across the table (8:53)

Total time: 43:50


All compositions by Augusto Forti [Buma/Stemra]
Recording: Dick Lucas
Recorded: February 28 2003 (tracks 1,3,5) and November 2000 (tracks 2,4)
Editing: Augusto Forti, Dick Lucas
Cover: "stringato" A.F.
Layout: Augusto Forti, Francesca Patella
Photo: Monica Ragazzini
Release for T 02 Amsterdam January 2006

Special thanks to: 
Fonds voor Amateurkunst en Podiumkunsten - The Hague
Fonds voor de Scheppende Toonkunst - Amsterdam
Thuiskopie Fonds - Amstelveen
Federatie van Kunstenaarsverenigingen - Amsterdam

Personal thanks to:
Jaap de Rijke - Stichting GossipArt - Amsterdam
Huub van Riel - Bimhuis - Amsterdam

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Equally unique yet sharing a similar mix of profundity and absurdity is Italian clarinetist Augusto Forti, a musician with close ties to the New Dutch Swing scene. He’s been based in Amsterdam for the last decade or so and his band the Gravitones is made up of Holland’s best (Han Bennink, de Joode, Buis) and other expatriates who have adopted the city as their home (cornetist Felicity Provan, tubist and trombonist Gregg Moore, [and Michael] Vatcher).

Live at the Bimhuis is this band’s second album and it finds the group emphasizing strings and textures over their prime instruments. For instance tubist Moore plays mostly banjo and mandolin and trombonist Joost Buis plays his secondary instrument, lap steel guitar. One might think the music is leaning toward an Americana sound but this is about as far from that as one could get. Many of the themes have a pentatonic modality of an Asian dimension but it’s not very Asian either. It’s as if all of these elements have been put through a blender and it comes out sounding very ‘Dutch’ (all the more strange since it is filtered through an Italian). Of course the jazz element is always somewhere underneath in this music, coming to the fore on the longest track, “Gasiform”, with the leader’s clarinet solo swinging lithely over Han Bennink’s loping gait. Special mention too must be made of the fantastic cornet work of Australian expatriate Provan. Buis shows lap steel mettle (or is it metal) with an apocalyptic solo on “Twice Across The Table”. As with the Corkestra album, it’s a unique vision and there’s little around that sounds quite like it. Both of these discs are well worth hearing and show Dutch improvising musicians still searching for new ways to make unique music and coming up aces.

Robert Iannapollo, All About Jazz


++ On his second album, Italian clarinetist Augusto Forti is joined by a host of strong Amsterdam based musicians including the legendary Han Bennink. The music is absolutely fascinating, fusing Americana instrumentation (ukuleles, banjos, lapsteel guitars) with Dutch free jazz/improv aesthetics. Though freely improvised, the players move within fully composed songs with constant tonal centers throughout resulting in a very intellectual but listenable record. It is records like this that show just how actively innovative experimental jazz/free improv circles are today. Unexpected, unusual, and unheard: sounds like WNUR.

WNUR Chicago March 2006

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Da molti anni trasferito in Olanda, il clarinettista Augusto Forti ha trovato in quel Paese campo d'elezione per sperimentare il suo jazz libero e fantasioso, memore della lezione delle avanguardie, ma per nulla sciupato dagli aspetti lugubri e autoreferenziali che spesso infestano quei campi. Forti è un musicista intelligente, che ama il sorriso e la surrealtà: come Frank Zappa, come Django Bates. Qui i suoi Gravitones sono rinforzati da una sghemba sezione d'archi, con Tristan Honsinger al violoncello in primo piano, e Han Bennink alla batteria. Guizzi e lazzi, sviluppi imprevedibili, un folle e saggio cartoon sonoro che appare svaporato, in realtà costruito con lucida lungimiranza. 

Guido Festinese, Il Manifesto