As part of the 2016 EFG London Jazz Festival, Pizza Express in Soho, London, hosted the multi-talented Filomena Campus and her band who play to a rapturous crowd welcoming them with a huge applause. Campus & co started with a classic, one I have heard before and never tire of listening, “Monk’s Dance” (written by Steve Lodder on piano and Filomena Campus), a truly innovative track, both lyrically and musically dedicated to Thelonious Monk. “Sabbia e Mirto” [Sand and Myrtle) - (by Phillips/ Campus) was like a fluctuating sea, with Campus performing with a smile printed on her face.
“Summer Lights”, inspired by the poem “Ombre” (Shadows) by the late Sardinian singer-songwriter Maria Carta, is the introduction the crowd needed for the mighty entrance of Sardinian saxophonist and singer Gavino Murgia. His notes were played in a way that was deep and pierces through one’s heart. Campus was energized and her scatting was super-charged on the night by the impressive Murgia. They were travelling on the same wave-length and at such a pace!
As per usual, Campus’s band was of the highest quality with Lodder playing exquisitely on piano, Youngs strong and attentive on drums and Phillips on a perfect rhythm. Murgia added his magic by producing notes like fire.
A track like “Impressionismo” [Impressionism] – (by Alessandro Di Liberto) was a rendition that makes one realize how skilled Campus is, her scatting is literally something else, she was on top form, a modernist in her approach, Murgia’s solo on this piece was powerful.
The second set saw the the band and Murgia provide an insightful performance, one that both myself and the crowd won’t forget for a long time: “Bardofulas” a composition by Murgia, a mélange of sounds, singing and words that left one open-mouthed. “Per Franca” (by Lodder, Campus, Benni) exposed the highest brand of poetry into jazz/ jazz into poetry that there is. The track was inspired by a poem by Stefano Benni for the late Franca Rame, the Italian theatre playwright (and wife of the late Dario Fo).
“Pane Pintau” [Decorated Bread] – (by Murgia) is stunning, eclectic, mellifluous. Another worthy mention, amongst all the beautiful compositions, is “Creuza De Ma’” [from the Genoese dialect meaning a very small, tight alley] – (by De Andre’), arranged by Dudley Phillips, here the crowd was treated to Campus’s Genoese singing, this dialect is not easy to understand, it is intricate and dark at times but this is exactly what makes the singing and the performance more attractive, one has to witness it.
So this is really what jazz can ALSO be; it can be about poetry, about singing it, performing it, it is about creation.
An absolutely inventive show.
P.S. – why are we not seeing Gavino Murgia more in this country??
Personnel: Filomena Campus – vocals; Steve Lodder – piano, Dudley Phillips – electric bass, Rod Youngs – drums and Gavino Murgia (special guest) – tenor and soprano sax
Text: Erminia Yardley
Images: Carl Hyde Photography