CD REVIEW: Indù – Juggernaut

Indù – Juggernaut
(Slam CD 554. CD Review by Peter Slavid)

Duo Indù, based in Bologna, was formed in 2012 by Claudio Vignali (piano & keyboards) and Andrea Grillini (drums and effects), later adding a further dimension through Achille Succi , (sax and bass clarinet) who appears on three of the tracks on this album.

In the last few years, contemporary Italian jazz has been developing a real personality of its own with some fine improvisers and a number of interesting and original bands of which this is definitely one.

In this case both the name and the album cover hint at an Eastern mysticism that I didn’t quite hear. But Vignali has said that as a duo the name Indu came from a Bolognese dialect where it means “two.” In more wordplay he clearly liked the idea that the album title Juggernaut is one of the many names of the deity Krishna, and “is also used to define a force of any kind, considered unstoppable and destructive (a bit like our music)”

When I first heard this album my initial reaction was that it covered too many different styles. There’s some free jazz, some minimalism, some lyrical improvisation and some funky beats. But subsequent listening convinced me that this was much more coherent than I first thought, with a number of ideas explored in the first few tracks pulling together in the later ones.

What you do get throughout the CD is some ferocious drumming from Grillini who is also credited with “effects” – sometimes laying down a funky beat most notably on the final track A.N.S; sometimes putting up a barrage of sound behind either piano or bass clarinet. Vignali’s piano, and particularly his keyboard work is surprisingly lyrical, although with sudden bursts of explosive free improvisation. At times this was reminiscent of the electronic sound of Troyka..

And Succi’s “guest” sax and bass clarinet make crucial contributions, particularly on the standout track Eyeliner, and on Van Gundy’s retreat – the one composition by Tim Berne.

This is an album that requires a bit of patience and ideally more than one listen. It accumulates and merges the different styles in a way that I found really refreshing. Very interesting music.

Categories: miscellaneous

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