Like many performers of the fusion/free jazz ilk, The Daniele Cavallanti Electric Unit composes music that enables them to indulge in their personalized idioms and individually carved fragments. The Unit recorded the tracks on their latest album Smoke Inside from April 30th, 2006 to May 1st, 2006. It was a 24-hour buzz that they needed to get out of their systems and they did it in one jam session. Their energies expelled music ideas that created contrasting tones, frills and twirls with uneven levels of inertia and polyrhythmic movements that cause many aspects of the music to sound jumbled and radical.
Literally, each player moves to the beat of a different drummer and yet the players still resonate with a common syncopation that engages the listener into the musicians charming play. There are some performers who use their music to express serious moods and then there are those like The Daniele Cavallanti Electric Unit who show a lot of frolicking play and inventive doodling with jazz and blues overtones in their music. The object is not to let the music make you go insane with all the lines streaming chaotically into each other, but to hear where they are coming from and when they come into the picture. The music is like a conversation with multiple voices surrounding you.
The opening number "Cline’s Line" sprouts a bouquet of frilly guitar bows performed by Nels Cline. The guitar is soon combined with cooling saxophone rings played by Daniele Cavallanti and thrusting drum strikes by Tiziano Tononi. Coming into the fold periodically are keyboardist Ivano Borgazzi, bass player Giovanni Maier, guitarist Simone Massaron and percussionist Pacho. The music takes on an eerie, sci-fi dimension on "Lonesome Drive" providing cavernous echoes, then turning the tables and making the music a session of twisted metal pinned by dysfunctional phrasing with "Fabrizio’s Mood." The blues revival of Ahima’s subdivision "Long Song Blues" is shaped from bluesy organs and upright bass tugs barbed by sultry saxophone lines that produce a strip-tease atmospherics.
The track "Moods For Dewey" is a tribute to their beloved friend Dewey Redman. The Unit covers the melody in laid-back urban grooves of the ‘70s pumping out funky bass and percussion lines as the saxophone phrases twirl vivaciously with the beating heart of someone who celebrates the joyful memories of the past. The final track "Go On Moses" is dripping in warm saxophone tones and peaceful keys. It is the most melodic tune on the album and rich in bluesy fibers.
Produced by Fabrizio Perissinotto, Smoke Inside is true to many fusion/free jazz ideals which allows each player to keep his own individual style while being meshed into others. The solos are sparse, but when they are done, the other players pause in reverence. The Unit’s intermingling of electric and acoustic instruments is exceptionally skillful, layering the parts to enhance the multiple dimensions in the music. I dare to say that The Daniele Cavallanti Electric Unit falls into that old cliché "Italians do it better."