Friday, Oct 10 2014 | 03:29
Image: 1592891 "Two obscure albums by Basso Valdambrini Quintet originally released for TV and Radio Shows on Usignolo Series by Fonit Cetra. Now available for the Basso-Valdambrini's lovers.”

We might shout “Long live CD!” when we look at the reissue you hold in your hands. But don't forget that the staff of Schema Records have also generously provided us with a vinyl version. “Long live CD!” might sound odd at a time when the age of the CD seems to be all but over. Yet the compact disc remains the most democratic format: not as elitist as the beautiful old 33 rpm record, which today is unfortunately absent from many home hi-fi systems – and above all, not as ephemeral as the digital download format that seems so much in fashion today. To some listeners the phonograph record is still important: it's associated with care, attention, concentration. Like going to the cinema, compared to watching a movie on the screen of a PC, another habit particularly in vogue today. Is it really comparable to walking into a cinema, switching off the mobile and being captivated by a story, as you empathise or identify yourself with an actor? Yes, the same is true of listening to music, whether you're a fanatic or a casual devotee: reverently handling the record case, admiring the packaging, browsing the booklet and probing the details of archive photos... and maybe reading these few introductory notes. These are all aspects that, even if they can't equal the experience of listening, can surely enrich it. At least for the help they provide in putting the listener in the right frame of mind. The iPod is definitely a beautiful thing, but perhaps is most suited to being attached to joggers' arms. Here, the choice is up to you: Schema Records has made these recordings available both as utilitarian CDs and beguiling vinyl.

Why this sociological introduction for the reissues of two Italian jazz records of the early seventies? Because fate decided that these recordings of the Gianni Basso and Oscar Valdambrini Quintet (cryptically entitled H602 and H603 respectively) were born under a bad sign and were to be considered second-class recordings by music professionals, and sometimes by the musicians themselves. Fading into oblivion and unappreciated, these records then reappeared as objects of worship, highly sought-after by avid collectors. Desired, exchanged or sold for astronomical sums. In fact, these two discs by the “Basso-Valdambrini Quintet” - the name by which one of the longest lived and most prolific Italian jazz combos was known to aficionados – originated as library music. A humble term, but one that indicates music recorded to accompany radio and later television shows, to act as jingles or simply provide musical interludes. They all date from December 1970. These records had no commercial release and weren't available in stores. That's one of the reasons why they were viewed with some disdain. Yet they were important for allowing musicians to earn a living, especially among what Franco D'Andrea, remembering his early years, calls «the first [Italian] generation to realise, despite all the obstacles, that being a Jazz musician could be a profession». And even more, these records were a way to spread Jazz beyond the small Jazz clubs and to ensure that, while hardly realising it, more people became acquainted with this music. It reached a wide audience as a background for various forms of popular entertainment.

2LP + CD
H602: A1 Mick B1 Corton A2 Valba B2 Invertime A3 Plinius B3 El Gato A4 Maglione B4 Local Times A5 Muy B5 From Me
H603: C1 Gum D1 The Jolly C2 Gold Mine D2 E' Molto Facile C3 Glaucus D3 Mercury C4 Pick Up D4 Costa Dell'Ovest C5 Washington Bridge D5 Transistor

Gianni Basso – tenor sax, clarinet
Oscar Valdambrini – trumpet
Ettore Righello – piano
Giorgio Azzolini – bass
Lionello Bionda – drums

H602 recorded in Milan 11/12/1970
H603 recorded in Milan 16/12/1970
Informations taken from dictionary of
Italian Jazz Personnell Available from 21.11.2014
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