Francesco Aroni Vigone: Orbita

Italian saxophonist plays 18 minimalist miniatures in St Giuliano's in Vercelli, reminding of Jan Garbarek's similarly churchly ventures

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A solo saxophone in a church, embracing the building’s acoustic and performing a programme of musical gobbets, might be considered liturgical, the parts aspiring to a whole if extended and combined with words.

Francesco Aroni Vigone recorded these 18 miniatures – the longest is 151 seconds, the shortest 47 – “live” at St Giuliano’s in Vercelli. He composed them all bar one. Many display the minimalist trope of repetition, varied by equally minimalist changes of pitch and key. Some, such as the playful Marea and the stripped-back title track, invited improvisation; others dwell on their rhythmic qualities, such as the five-note motif (dropping to four) of Sequenza#6, with its fluttering accompaniment.

Bluff and Inverno, the latter a quick 6/8 before deceleration, enjoin the church’s reverberative echo; Carovana’s plodding two-note signature invites hesitant development; Oasi aspires to a bell-like chime; Sulla Luna is catchingly tuneful; Canto Degli Uccelli (a Catalan folk song) heralds a deeper, more complex meditation; the exuberant Brezza flies high. And so on.

So what do these monodic brevities have to do with jazz? Well, Vigone is a jazz musician; there are antecedents involving Jan Garbarek in particular; the saxophone is a jazz instrument but not exclusively so; and religion, albeit non-conformist, played a part in early jazz history.

Whether or not all that adds up to a passport for entry into the jazz fold any more than the album’s fragmentary sequence qualifies it as the contribution to an unconventional liturgy will be ever up for discussion.

Discography
In Cammino; Sequenza#6; Canto#1; Bluff; Carovana; In Cammino#2; Waltz; Inverno; Canto#2; Canto#3; Paesaggio; Canto Degli Uccelli; Oasi; Sulla Luna; Marea; Autunno; Orbita; Brezza (28.82)
Francesco Aroni Vigone (as, ss). Vercelli, Italy, 14 January 2023.
We Insist! Records CDWEIN24