tue 18/06/2024

Justin Adams and Mauro Durante, The Green Note review - fiery duo in an intimate space | reviews, news & interviews

Justin Adams and Mauro Durante, The Green Note review - fiery duo in an intimate space

Justin Adams and Mauro Durante, The Green Note review - fiery duo in an intimate space

Fusion of the Delta blues and trance music from Southern Italy hits the spot

Justin and Mauro

Two men trade licks: one of them delves into the heart of the blues, a potent dose of the boogie, the medicinal music of the Mississipi Delta.

The other with a mournful voice and violin draws on the equally stripped-down and drone-inflected roots of Southern Italian tradition. The Italian also plays a range of frame drums with phenomenal energy and technical prowess.  Mixing the rocking and rolling lilt of John Lee Lee Hooker with the frenetic pulse of pizzica music from Italy might seem an unlikely combination, but the result of collaboration based on a shared passion for the music of healing and trance

Justin Adams is probably the most underrated musician in Britain. This may be because he has never been a slave to fashion or stuck in the rut of genre. He has devoted his life to collaborating with others, and enabling his musical partners to reach for the stars – from Robert Plant to Tinariwen, the Gambian virtuoso Juldeh Camara to the brilliant French band Lo’Jo and Rachid Taha. It is evident, when he plays on stage at Camden Town’s Green Note, a venue whose micro-size acts as an alchemical vessel for intense and intimate music-making: he loves music, and savours the joy of collaboration.

There is a thread that connects the seemingly wide variety of music that Adams explores: he has been drawn for years to the music of trance – the sacred and African heart of rock’n’roll. It was perhaps not surprising that he should decide to work with Puglian multi-instrumentalist Mauro Durante, the leader of Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino, a band devoted to the romance and frenzy of traditional music from the southernmost parts of Italy. Durante and Adams originally met and became friends through their respective collaborations with Ludovico Einaudi. They both believe in music’s transcendent and transformative potential. As Durante explains, the fast-paced pizzica and tarantella styles have their origins in trance dances that graced healing ceremonies.Much of the material they present on stage –  which can be found, beautifully recorded on their new album Still Moving (released on 29 October) - is high-octane blues from Adams and spectacular percussion from Durante. The song “Dark Road Down”, as other strongly blues-inflected pieces features all their combined talents, sparking off each other with breath-taking energy that has the audience on the edge of their seat: visceral bluesy power-chords from Adams’s guitar sparring with Durante’s virtuosic finger-play on the frame drum, punctuated by bass-heavy strokes from the lower palm of his hand. Both men sing – Adams a gruff invocation of pain, and Durante full of melancholy yearning and romance. The same mood colours his violin-playing, with its echoes of the Greek and Arab music that draws emotional power from sliding seductively up and down the space between tempered tones.

Durante’s gentle and unadorned voice and fiddle come into their own on several passion-filled songs, one of them a soulful version of Domenico Modugno’s massive Italian hit "Amara Terra Mia" and the very touching love song "Damme la Manu" Here, Adams, plays more delicately, in emotional harmony with the Italian, a welcome and soothing contrast with the more obviously erotic intensity of his supercharged blues.

It has almost become a cliché to celebrate the return of live music and the excitement that comes from the shared enjoyment of music. We live in a world drenched in omnipresent music and sound. The preciousness and vitality of performance is all the more tangible after long months of absence. Adams and Durante rose to the occasion, helped a great deal by the scale of the event. It was easy in the context of such a tiny club, to rediscover the power of rhythm and melody, the captivating range of textures that the simplest music, played from the heart, can produce.

Justin Adams is probably the most under-rated musician in Britain


Editor Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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