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Riccardo Tesi
Dunya (

tesi Italian melodeon man Riccardo Tesi is unquestionably one of the leading lights of the folk roots scene in Italy. In his many years of work as both a soloist and in his many recordings with French mandolinist and composer Patrick Vaillant, Tesi has forged a reputation as a musician and composer of great depth, from the style of his playing to the innovation of his arrangements. Banditaliana is a return to the Tuscan turf where his roots lie, to celebrate his twenty years of music making. He has assembled a dynamic ensemble to pursue this. Guitarist Maurizio Geri offers a fiery, fast paced melodic delivery and the album's few vocals; Claudio Carboni's saxes make it jazzy one moment, raw and energetic the next; Ettore Bonaf´┐Ż's percussion is worldly wise, and his vibraphone creates a rich elegance on a number of tracks. A host of guests, notably saxophonist Daniele Sepe, fill out the album with sonic richness.


The music on Banditaliana spans a number of styles and a number of periods in Tesi's career, with many songs from his collaborations with Vaillant given fresh and interesting new twists. "Nottore" is sweeping, the melodeon giving an uncharacteristic lushness to this moody piece. "Tarantella Rouge & Noir" is a study in divergence, roaring out of the starting line as a lively, drum driven dance tune, then suddenly veering off into a cool, lounge tune with the vibes, and then, with a burst of Carboni's saxes, it thunders to the finish with a bit of off-kilter folk rock. "Pomodhoro" is among Tesi's best new pieces here, a dance tribute to the fruit of Mediterranean cooking, simmered over a Balkan beat in 7/8. He also pushes the bellows to the limits of their rhythmic range on "Tevakh" with the full ensemble and in the solo melodeon of "Vento del Madagascar," a tribute to his work and friendship with Malagasy valiha master Justin Vali.

cd cover

Tesi has always been considered a master of his craft, a highly sought after session musician and a member of many of Italy's best ensembles over the years, but with Banditaliana he is firmly in control and shows that while craftsmanship counts, artistry is the real test. Tesi passes, 100%. - Cliff Furnald

CD Available from cdRoots

Audio: "Tevakh" by Riccardo Tesi, © 1999 Dunya/Felmay, Italy
Used by permission.

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