Vinny Golia | Marco Eneidi | Lisa Mezzacappa | Vijay Anderson | Hell-Bent in the Pacific | No Business Records

Vinny Golia – tenor, sopranino and soprano saxophones; Bb and bass clarinet | Marco Eneidi– alto saxophone | Lisa Mezzacappa – acoustic bass | Vijay Anderson – drums

All music by Golia / Eneidi / Mezzacappa / Anderson. Recorded and mixed by John Finkbeiner at New, Improved Recording, Oakland CA. Mastered by Myles Boisen at the Headless Buddha Mastering Lab, Oakland CA. Design by Oskaras Anosovas. Produced by Golia / Eneidi / Mezzacappa / Anderson. Produced by Danas Mikailionis. Co-producer – Valerij Anosov

Tracklist: 1. Meteorites [9:20] 2. Inessential melancholies [2:55] 3. Everything imaginable can be dreamed [7:56] 4. Deformities and discords [1:43] 5. Pendulum [4:32] 6. Fumbling fulminations [2:35] 7. Prisoner of a gaudy and unlivable present [7:38] 8. Lop-sided heels and frayed shoes [6:59] 9. Catholic comstocking smut-hound [13:17]

Vinny Golia

Marco Eneidi

Lisa Mezzacappa

Vijay Anderson

Vinny Golia has made some unusual choices.

In 1973, he moved from New York to Los Angeles, away from the centre of the jazz universe to the more cooperative Left Coast scene. He established his musician-run New Winds label in the 1980s, the start of tough times for the record biz. He also bucked conventional wisdom to concentrate on just one or two instruments, devising a rotating practice schedule to master the full families of saxophones, flutes and clarinets, as well as shakuhachi, bassoon, and so many other winds that his Penguin Guide to Jazz list ends with “etc.”

Having recorded duo sides with Barre Phillips, Ken Filiano and the sublime Intersections with Bertram Turetzky, Golia clearly has a penchant for bassists. Lisa Mezzacappa is handed a major role here, starting off most pieces with solo riffs and setting the tone throughout.

Like Golia, alto saxophonist Marco Eneidi has changed bases, completing the roundtrip from California to NYC and back west between 1981 and 1995, before settling into Austria in the early 2000s. The unit is rounded out by versatile drummer Vijay Anderson.

Although improvised throughout, the nine tunes cover various free jazz sub-genres. Someone has also spent some time selecting the humorous song titles that perfectly match the diverse moods. Amongst the uptempo pieces, “Meteorites” is classic high energy. It kicks off with a one-note bass rumble coupled with rim shot percussion, quickly building steam with rapid and overlapping trills and shrills from the woodwinds. “Fumbling Fulminations” has quick-witted, fast-paced lines, while Mezzacapa walks fours through “Everything Imaginable Can Be Dreamed,” which builds to an angular avant-bop.

On the pensive side, a quivering arco bassline recurs in “Inessential Melancholies,” a droning work topped by whistling, keening horns. “Pendulum” is sparse, quiet reed thoughts matched by low-in-the-mix shimmering metallic percussion. The beauty is in the details as breath winds through the winds and the wood creaks on the bass.

“Catholic Comstocking Smut-Hound” sizzles with a bass and drum duo for almost four minutes before cacophonous horns enter. While perhaps the kind of art the church wants banned, this mayhem can inspire its own religion. — Lawrence Joseph


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5 thoughts on “Vinny Golia | Marco Eneidi | Lisa Mezzacappa | Vijay Anderson | Hell-Bent in the Pacific | No Business Records

  1. Both a reunion and a new configuration, the galloping interaction which makes up Hell-Bent in the Pacific unites alto saxophonist Marco Eneidi, who now lives in Austria, with his West Coast rhythm section plus added impetus from Los Angeles-based Vinny Golia’s many reeds.

    Golia’s wide-ranging gigs have frequently put him in contact with bassist Lisa Mezzacappa and drummer Vijay Anderson, two of the Bay area’s busiest players, so that his contributions are inspired not alienating. Meanwhile Eneidi, a Californian who has been in Vienna since 2004, easily locks into a groove with the bassist and drummer. Crucially as well, his empathy with Golia is such that when the Angelo concentrates on tenor the result recalls the memorable two-horn partnership Eneidi had in the ‘90s with the late Glenn Spearman (1947-1998).

    In contrast, tracks such as “Pendulum;” and “Fumbling Fulminations” demonstrate how curving chalumeau or flutter-tongued vibrations from Golia’s clarinet or bass clarinet tease the alto saxophonist’s tart tones so that the two reedists’ output twists around each other’s. Mezzacappa anchors the nine instant compositions with graceful power, encompassing a grab bag of bulldozer-like thumps and scrubbed line extensions. Anderson’s clip-clops and cuffs plus gong-like cymbal tones are precise and tasteful throughout.

    Probably the highpoint for all comes on the extended “Catholic comstocking smut-hound”. Anderson’s slapping cymbals and Mezzacappa’s Pops Foster-style slap bass easily define the tune’s head and recapped finale leaving the horn men plenty of space. Each takes advantage of this with sharp bites and tactile slurs, as Golia’s tenor saxophone outlines the narrative, deconstructs it with screeches, snorts and split tones, and then revives it, as the alto saxophonist darts around him with multiphonic reed vibrations.

    “Everything imaginable can be Dreamed” is Eneidi’s feature, while “Prisoner of a gaudy and unlivable present” is another demonstration of Golia’s tenor saxophone prowess. Shadowed by Mezzacappa’s ringing bass line, the tenor saxist’s breathy lyricism plus heated triple tonguing honors both Ben Webster and John Coltrane. Meanwhile Eneidi’s timbres on his showpiece demonstrate a familiarity with Bird-like licks as well as so-called avant-garde playing.

    Hell-Bent in the Pacific is such a high quality piece of work that one hopes that geography won’t prevent the quartet from convening again.

  2. When you have four excellent players known for their instant compositional improvisations at your disposal (so to speak), you give them some studio time and hope they get something great going. That’s sometimes the plan and in the case of Golia, Eneidi, Mezzacappa and Anderson’s Hell-Bent in the Pacific (No Business CD 49) it comes off nicely.

    This is a free yet self-structured session with some wonderful rhythm-section energy (Mezzacappa and Anderson) and reed velocitation (Golia and Eneidi). Vinny and Lisa sound especially good, but Marco and Vijay spar with them with a tightly knit looseness of great power.

    It’s one of those sessions that flies out of the speakers at you. Latch on!

  3. Ever since moving to Austria in 2004, Bay Area alto saxophonist Marco Eneidi has flown beneath the radar, particularly in terms of recorded output. His discography boasts some heavy duty entries, including late trumpeter Bill Dixon’s Thoughts (Soul Note, 1986) and bass maestro William Parker’s Sunrise In The Tone World (Aum Fidelity, 1996), in addition to several appearances with legendary pianist Cecil Taylor, so it’s a real pleasure to find him in the company of three other West Coast residents for a program of no holds barred free jazz. Cohesion derives from the many connections between the participants. As well as anchoring her own quartet, the pairing of bassist Lisa Mezzacappa and drummer Vijay Anderson also completes Eneidi’s Shattered trio, while prolific reedman Vinny Golia performs in duet with the bassist and has filled out a trio with the drummer in bassist Adam Lane’s group on the excellent Zero Degree Music (CIMP, 2005). Although no recording date is given, a little internet research reveals that it was waxed in Fall 2010, presumably during one of Eneidi’s regular forays back Stateside.

    Even though all nine cuts are jointly credited to the quartet, the opening “Meteorites” suggests more focused intent than the average blow. After an urgent rumbling introduction, clarion blasts of roughhewn saxophone synchronicity pin the unsuspecting listener to the wall. Eneidi’s repeated tumbling alto phrase acts as a touchstone for both him and Golia’s snake charming sopranino. Sadly not everything can match this peak of intensity, excitement and purpose, as somewhat enigmatic atmospheric selections leaven the more brawny fare.

    However, among the stronger numbers, Eneidi graces “Everything imaginable can be dreamed” with a fine statement in his thick treacley-toned alto vernacular, while Golia’s chiseled tenor (the most expressive of the five reeds selected from his extensive arsenal) picks up pace to crest in a split-toned wail on “Prisoner of a gaudy and unlivable present,” only to make his peace then ascend once more. Anderson demonstrates that less can be more, as he carefully demarcates the use of his small kit. That approach is well illustrated on “Lop-sided heels and frayed shoes,” where he utilizes just his toms in a tuneful cascade in tandem with Eneidi’s throaty alto saxophone animations, while on “Catholic comstocking smut-hound” his pulsating clatter meshes pleasingly with Mezzacappa’s muscular counterpoint, by way of introducing a brace of frenetic orations by the horns. While not consistently compelling, there is enough here to intimate that a session by Eneidi’s Shattered threesome would be well worth hearing.

  4. Sur le feu, Vinny Golia convainc de l’association qu’il pensa pour Hell-Bent in the Pacific, lot de pièces quiètes et même réfléchies enfermées entre deux grands moments de tension – pour ne pas dire de free intense.

    Ainsi donc, trouve-t-on aux côtés du souffleur : Marco Eneidi, ancien élève de Jimmy Lyons, recrue de Bill Dixon et par voie de conséquence saxophone alto singulier, et la paire rythmique Lisa Mezzacappa / Vijay Anderson. Saxophones (ténor, sopranino et soprano) à moudre et clarinettes à traîner trouvent là et un partenaire incitatif et un soutien de choix : l’empreinte d’Eneidi marquant même l’improvisation de ses enraiements multiples. En place, le groupe fait preuve d’un équilibre qui transforme toute provocation en déstabilisation nécessaire : de fioritures piquantes, Hell-Bent fait un bouquet de fleurs sauvages – pétales et tiges désormais accessoires.

  5. In Europe you have a lot of national free jazz scenes exchanging experiences, playing together, supporting each other. It started in the late 1960s with Western Germany (Brötzmann, Kowald, Schlippenbach e.g.), Great Britain (Parker, Oxley, Bailey among others) and the Netherlands (Bennink, Mengelberg, Breuker etc.) and over the years scenes in France, Italy, Scandinavia, Poland, even in Portugal, Switzerland and Lithuania and other countries have developed sustainably. If you have a look at the US almost everything seems to be concentrated in New York, it is still the (free) jazz capital. Peter Evans once told me that there were lots of possibilities to perform, although it was a real shark tank, where many musicians compete for a limited number of gigs. But not everything is centered on the east coast, the west coast, namely Los Angeles and the bay area, has had a vivid scene for many years, too.

    “Hell-Bent in the Pacific” is a classic, almost old-fashioned free jazz album recorded by some of the west coast’s finest improvisers: Vinny Golia (tenor, sopranino and soprano saxophones; Bb and bass clarinet), Marco Eneidi (alto sax), Lisa Mezzacappa (bass), and Vijay Anderson (drums). The tracks are shaped around an axis of track one, six and nine, the only pieces where all the members of the quartet are involved. Especially “Meteorites”, the first track, and “Catholic Comstocking Smut-Hound”, the last one, are like a frame keeping the album together. Both pieces are breathless to some extent, especially the sound of the saxophones is agonizing (you have to get used to it), but the musicianship is absolutely masterful. The other tracks are mainly trios, very often they start as duos and then fray delicately into some sort of reflective chamber music. Also, some of them are deeply rooted in the tradition of Albert Ayler’s and Ornette Colemans groundbreaking recordings (“Spiritual Unity” and “Live at the Golden Circle”). The most interesting tracks are two of these trios: “Prisoner of Gaudy and Unlivable Present” and “Lop-sided Heels and Frayed Shoes”, both delicate and refined pieces, growing, imploding. Golia presents himself in a line that goes back to the great John Coltrane, making a bow to the master’s spirituality.

    However, the real sensation are not the leading reed-players Golia and Eneidi, it is the rhythm section. Mezzacappa and Anderson are the engine room that keeps the ship rolling – whether the sea is calm or rough. They do an unexcited job, sometimes rolling, sometimes whispering, always communicating and reliable, “Hell-Bent in the Pacific”, so to say. It seems unbelievable that a Lithuanian label has to put these guys together for the first time.

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