Tongs | Jazz With The Megaphone? | Long Song Records

tongs | jazz with the megaphone? | long song records

Carlo Garof – drums & percussion, objects, sinori (thunder sheet), handsonic, kaoss pad, megaphone | Antonio Bertoni – double bass, electric bass, effects, sampler | Luca Serrapiglio – baritone saxophone, tenor saxophone, bass clarinet, lo-fi electronics

Recorded and mixed november 13th-18th 2008 by Ivan A. Rossi (8brr.rec) at Apricot Studio, Milano. Mastered by Claudio Giussani at Nautilus Mastering, Milano. Production by Tongs. Executive production by Fabrizio Perissinotto. Additional sound production by Ivan Rossi. Luca Serrapiglio plays circuit bent instruments made by Andrea Serrapiglio. Carlo Garof plays Vic Firth SD2 Bolero drumsticks. Logo created by Stefano Misesti. Artwork by Elena Raffa. Photos by Leo Longanesi. All music composed and arranged by Tongs.

Thanx to: Katia, Anna, Tristana, The House of Nocino, Delaiti family and all our families for thei patient support, Andrea for his smart instruments and his technological help, Gianni Mimmo for being Gianni Mimmo, Xabier Iriondo for his helpful advice, Elena, Fabrizio, Oktawia, Sumerian culture.

Tracklist: 1. Bootswanna 2. Lifting Tools 3. Slippers Follow Me 4. Polly Polka 5. Stretched Tongue 6. Bobo 7. The House Of Nocino 8. The Sketch Of The Cat 9. Old Fish 10. Am Duong

tongs | jazz with the megaphone? | long song records

Through an explosive debut album

a trio composed of young men, already expert musicians, set the tone for a mature record, powerful and clear in its intentions, with a precise and articulated vision of how to mix jazz and rock with strength and character in an instrumental work. The coherence and the depth of the compositions come together with melodic developments and explorations overflowing with ideas and variations which are stunning without becoming over-thought or pretentious. Carlo, Luca and Antonio approach all of the instruments available to them, including electronic, with a freshness, skill and curiosity. They pursue tonal developments and experimentations while never losing their way, always resulting in a direct and precise objective that is above all, full of feeling.

“Jazz with the megaphone?” brings together the exhilaration of a typical jazz trio (without harmonic, acrobatic and throbbing instruments) and a disruptive attack of tried-and-true rock formations, compensating for the lack of a “voice” with all of their articulated “voices”. Here it must be discussed the importance of the recording studio as an “added instrument”, also found in the best rock music, which is manipulated as such that all of the songs are executed in a rich, personalized style that transcends a more limited live, one-day recording. The music lends itself to multiple listening sessions, each time revealing more details and nuances to thrill the listener.

It would be a shame to loose ourselves here in a list of musical influences, which are numerous and varied (free jazz? Jazzcore? Punk? Avant Rock? Etno? and so forth). We like to think that the Tongs have produced an album that is brusque, vital, beautiful, emotional, appeals to mind and body, with a marked identity that both evolved lovers of rock and non-purist jazzphiles can like.

“Jazz with the Megaphone” has in fact all ready received praise from some of the best musicians and personalities in the world of jazz such as: John Zorn, Chris Cutler, Massimo Pupillo (ZU), Gino Robair, Xabier Iriondo, and Gianni Mimmo. The Tongs much prefer playing live, where their musical and theatrical creativity is liberated, giving them a chance to astonish their audience as an “assault trio”, as they like to call themselves.

tongs | jazz with the megaphone? | long song records

Hey what do we got in the toolbox?

I’ve the itch to write: “much more than a simple pair of Tongs” and consequentially we’ve an heterogeneous artifact taking inspiration from a bunch of different influences. Forget my crappy humorism but it was just one simple way to introduce the basic concept of bands like this, infact we’re speaking about a sort of advanced fusion or at least about “fusion the way it had to be”, somehow we could speak of a sort of Spaceway Inc plunged in a jazzy-rock-electronic salsa, if the sound is not exactly the same the modus essendi is undoubtedly similar infact you hear different quotes coming from different genres scattered here and there in what remains a jazz dough. Soft-groovy parts mixed with jazz-rock rides like, James Taylorian fragments mixed with afro-american venatures, complicated passages evolving into neo-classical music portraits. If a band has a sound and you can bet they have it, imagine a really warm jazzy/rock/groovy double bass (sometimes electric bass) pulsing on a really calculated drumming which according to my opinion betrays a strong rock and percussionist training, saxophonist/clarinetist plays with a strong afro-american accent and they dress the salad with a whole bunch of electronic tricks.

Differently from what many may expect from a band like that you hear this is a collection of compositions and not a series of impros, as I’ve said you hear their way of writing songs is very premeditated but still not too angular like early Zu, when they’re soft they have the goddammit jazz feel and when they go for the rock/loud parts they have the volume like Ruins, Vandermark 5 or something in that vein. Despite that many wonnabies out there sold their soul for the last trend (come on, is it black metal?…power-noise?…weird-folk?), this music is the result of several influences and underlines the historical importance of towns like Chicago in crossing the boundaries of genres and styles, we’re talking about the hometown of Art Ensemble of Chicago, Tortoise, Rob Mazurek, Ken Vandermark and a zillion of other great names. Well recorded, well produced and well played, I guess that has to be undoubtly filed under “interesting debut”. — Chain D.L.K.

tongs | jazz with the megaphone? | long song records

This album

has been lying around here, not knowing what to do with it. Does it fit the profile of this blog or doesn’t it? Is is sufficiently jazz? Is it sufficiently adventurous? Well, in a way it is. The music is hard to pigeonhole. If you like The Happy Apple or Lucien Dubuis Trio, you must give this one a try too. Carlo Garof plays drums, percussion, objects, sinori, megaphone, live electronics; Antonio Bertoni plays double bass, electric bass, effects and sampler, Luca Serrapiglio plays baritone and tenor, bass clarinet and lo-fi electronics. The music has a definite rock attack and approach, with the studio being the fourth musician of the band. There is lots of fun on this album, lots of unexpected and interesting new subtleties added to the genre (and not only the megaphone). It rocks, it funks, it pumps, it swings, but on top you get colorful delivery of new sounds, ground-shaking drumming, gut-wrenching arco, hair-blowing horns, hair-raising electronics, feet-raising rhythms. Lively stuff! A little more unity would have made this a better album. Sometimes a little too sweet (like in the first track), sometimes hesitating between just plain fun and real artistic ambitions, but it sounds very promising. — Stef

tongs | jazz with the megaphone? | long song records

The Long Song label

is based in Milano, Italy and has been documenting a growing scene there. Tongs is a trio with whom I was not yet familiar. Tongs are basically a sax/bass/drums trio but still come up with some surprises. “Bootswanna” features Arlo on bari sax with the trio playing a trio, loping groove that sounds like it is about to fall over. This could almost be The Thing without all of that screaming?!? Each piece evokes a different mood or vibe. “Lifting Tools” has a somber bass line, eerie electronics and a sleepy bari sax solo. “Slippers Follow Me” has a laid back, sly sort of funky groove with a strong bari solo from Arlo. Although the bassist rarely solos, he is often at the center of each piece structurally.

He does take a fine bowed bass solo on “Polly Polka” while Arlo plays a mellow repeating bass clarinet pattern. “Stretched Tongue” has one of those great lumbering dinosaur-like grooves with growling bari sax just keeps getting more intense as the electronics add a more mysterious counter shade and the band starts to rock out in the last section. On “Bobo” the trio play a haunting melody that most musicians would die for since it reaches so deeply into our collective consciousness and soothes our souls with that spiritual balm we all need from time to time. Tongs work best when they explore the more restrained side of sax/bass/drums thing, all three members integral to their spirited collective sound. Considering that I wasn’t familiar with any of the members of this fine trio, this is truly an unexpected delight worthy of your time, consideration and cash. — Downtown Music Gallery



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4 thoughts on “Tongs | Jazz With The Megaphone? | Long Song Records

  1. Back in 1980s and early 1990s in New York, musicians were reinventing jazz and the “downtown scene,” as it was called, was focused on the The Knitting Factory club. Artists like saxophonists John Zorn, John Lurie and Thomas Chapin, guitarist Marc Ribot and cellist Tom Cora became famous. While they were schooled in the traditional, their rediscovery of the spark and energy that can be found in jazz was a revelation. Bands like Lounge Lizards, Jazz Passengers, Naked City, Doctor Nerve, Chunk and Slan, the first generation to be born under the full weight of rock and roll, brought a D.I.Y. sensibility to the music. This disc epitomize that same spirit—jazz that rocks.

    Three young Italian jazz musicians Carlo Garof (percussion), Antonio Bertoni (bass) and Luca Serrapiglio (reeds) set out to integrate the worlds of jazz and rock. Their effort, Jazz With A Megaphone?, doesn’t fuse the two as much as weld them together. The group play avant rock with jazz instruments, sometimes creating a free/jazz/punk amalgam, and at other places, a cobbled Frankenstein jazz monster. Tongs favors the low end, the bass fiddle (both acoustic and electric), baritone saxophone and bass clarinet.

    A swinging opener, “Bootswanna,” finds Serrapiglia’s baritone sax cruising a post-bop melody before chewing off huge chunks of energized outward notes over the speeding pulse of bass and drums. This pattern is repeated throughout to great effect. The band updates this dynamic swing with varied lo-fi electronic effects, samplers and a megaphone. Tongs is not just a crash-and-bash ensemble, it has a flair for positioning these effects and other subtle sounds within noisy contexts to keep things interesting. “Lifting Tools” is a great ambient electronics meditation that morphs into a free-jazz piece, then finally, into a rocker.

    The trio’s capaciity for gentle, considerate music is also found here. The chanting “Bobo” has the feel of a late 1960s track by saxophonist Pharoah Sanders upgraded with effects. After a tenor saxophone invocation, bassist Antonio Bertoni stretches out the affair with some angular bowing, before plucking an a cappella solo. There’s also the introspective “Am Duong” and “The Sketch Of The Cat,” both drifting improvised pieces that meander a bit. Never does the music fall back on mindless rock themes. Drummer Carlo Garof plays with stunning energy—directing his partners towards exclamations and his listeners towards sonic insights. For Tongs, everything new is both old and new again.

  2. Una copertina dalle atmosfere un po’ industrial ci introduce alla nuova proposta della Long Song, etichetta ormai radicata nell’ambito del jazz sperimentale. I Tongs sono un trio (principalmente basso, batteria e sassofono) che si inventa linee melodiche in cui innestare improvvisi cambi di tempo o soluzioni ritmiche devianti. Giocano di anticipo questi giovani musicisti, lasciano intendere e poi spiazzano, inventando di continuo variazioni, per il loro jazz-rock “d’assalto”, tanto potente e diretta suona la ti loro musica. Solo brani strumentali, carichi di molteplici sfumature e sonorità, diversi per atmosfera e impatto, per un album che non può lasciare indifferenti e che dal vivo troverà ancora più completezza ed ulteriori aperture in stile jam.

  3. Un debutto al di sopra della media per un power trio nostrano che c’è da sperare abbia la forza per continuare a sperimentare senza rinchiudersi nell’ormai comodo recinto della commistione dei generi. A Carlo Garof (batteria e percussioni), Antonio Bertoni (basso) e Luca Serrapiglio (sassofoni ed elettronica) non manca l’intensità collettiva, ma si fanno preferire nei brani circospetti e studiati (Lifting Tools, Polly Polka), in cui uno solo degli strumentisti mena la danza.

  4. Disco che suona parecchio intrigante alle mie orecchie questo Jazz With The Megaphone?, frutto della collaborazione tra Luca Serrapiglio, Antonio Bretoni e Carlo Garof. Si tratta in sostanza di jazz rock, o rock jazz, se così si può dire, che in funzione dei pezzi una o l’altra caratteristica si fa predominante, ottimamente arrangiato e suonato, sporcato di elettronica quando serve e all’occorrenza dotato di gran tiro. Tiro in gran parte derivante dalla fisicità della parte ritmica, interpretata con piglio molto solido e diretto, mentre a mantenere saldi i legami con gli aspetti più jazz del trio intervengono le linee armoniche dei fiati, suonati, nel caso del sax, con uno stile che deve sicuramente molto a certo free (Coleman, Mitchell…) ibridato con gli accenti duri del funk. Il meccanismo dei pezzi è incentrato su frasi musicali quasi “cantabili”, potrei dire swinganti, molto accentate (non mi vengono altri termini) e alternate a momenti dove sembra esserci maggiore spazio per l’improvvisazione e per un calibrato uso dell’elettronica, sotto forma di distorsioni, rumori, frammenti ambientali.

    Certo, questa è una descrizione approssimativa, le influenze sono molteplici e i tre Tongs tendono ad una fusione di stili che rasenta la perfezione, giocando con temi e atmosfere assai diverse, arrivando addirittura a lambire territori apertamente noise (o, per contro, a giocare con suggestioni cameristiche), e riuscendo a mantenere ogni cosa in un equilibrio perfetto in cui nessuno degli ingredienti prevarica sull’altro. Certi momenti mi hanno fatto pensare ad alcune cose di Fred Frith, ma anche paralleli con gli Zu più morbidi e jazz, penso alla loro collaborazione con Spaceways Inc. e all’album Radiale, non li ritengo poi così azzardati. Un ottimo disco e un gruppo con una fortissima personalità, davvero una gran sorpresa. Consigliatissimo.

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