Toni Germani: We Colonized Souls


Germani has long stood outside the mainstream of the music business, which he heartily despises and which in turn has turned its back on him. He found sympathetic patrons in Giovanni Bonandrini of Black Saint/Soul Note and in pianist/composer Giorgio Gaslini, who knows a real musician when he sees one, but these days he tends to record on small labels outside the charmed circle who know they can count on a review. So he’s less well known than he should be.

It might seem strange to start a four-star review by saying that I don’t much like his saxophone tone or the way he hangs back a little too much on the attack, but the truth is that Germani’s “voice”, instrumental and actual, is actually what is needed for his music.

He sings the line of All Along The Watchtower in a semi-spoken style that is actually very moving and reminds you that neither Bob Dylan nor Jimi Hendrix (nor Bob Marley if you include Redemption Song) would ever have medalled at Cardiff Singer of the World. And this confirms that Germani’s playing has that rare quality of absolute sufficiency to its message. There is no spurious virtuosity. When he plays a ballad, he keeps the message short and sincere. When he cuts loose on something more propulsive, he doesn’t do showers or sheets of notes. 

King Crimson’s Epitaph is an even more surprising inclusion, explained by the tribute to Greg Lake in the notes, though there’s some confusion about the track listing below. On my version, the Dylan was followed by the beautiful, also sung Mi Piace Aspettare, which includes the lovely couplet “Ascoltare il silenzio mentre declama / i versi del momento presente” and a glorious glottal slur on “ora” which is as effective as anything he does with an actual horn.

Albanese is wonderful on piano and Rhodes and both Cesare and Pentassuglia keep the music moving at exactly the right pace. A beautiful album from a guy who cares and doesn’t care to hide it.

Heat Hot; Ricordando/Luiza; On The Ridge/All Along The Watchtower; Epitaph; Mi Piace Aspettare; Redemption Song; Il mio canto (62.39)
Germani (as, ts, v); Gege Albanese (p, elp); Stefano Cesare (b); Davide Pentassuglia (d). Rome, May 2018.
TerreSommerse ts-jazz 033


  1. […] Nehmen wir an: We three kings von Roland Kirk aus dem Jahr 1961 und We Colonized Souls vom Toni Germani Quartet aus dem Jahr 2019 haben irgendetwas miteinander zu tun. Nehmen wir an, dass Toni Germani ein unbeschriebenes Blatt ist, weil er den Big Deal mit der Musikindustrie scheut, beziehungsweise siehe unten: ablehnt. Nehmen wir an, er spielt keinen jazzigen, sondern einen rockigen Ton. Nehmen wir an, er ist eigentlich weit unterschätzt. Nehmen wir an, dass es keinen Sinn macht, etwas sagen zu wollen über einen, der sich dem Business entzieht. Da würden wir doch trotzdem gern genauer hingucken oder hinhören, nicht wahr? Beispiel: Jazzjournal London: […]

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