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Ou - Scrambled!
CD (Rome / Seattle)



-Non C’è Niente da Lavare
-S’Ou Abbattadu
-Nochdenada
-Destiny Sneezed
-Deificação
-Gallone Bocca Larga
-I Like You
-Andiamo a Conoscerci Meglio a Parigi
-Jengi




Ersilia Prosperi: Trumpet, Flugelhorn, Ukulele, Background Vocals
Martina Fadda: Lead Vocal, Whistle, Shaker
Claudio Mosconi: Bass, Background Vocals
Cristiano De Fabritiis: Drums, Shaker, Background Vocals
Cristina Pecorario: Alto Sax, Background Vocals
Andrea Pesce: Piano, Wurlitzer, Hammond B-3 organ, Drum Programming, Glockenspiel, Toy Rat, Vocals
Amy Denio: Alto Sax, Clarinet, Bombo Leguero, Jew’s Harp, Background Vocals

Reviews:
(Earshot) It has been said that writing about music is like dancing about architecture. Accordingly, describing Scrambled, the latest recording from OU (featuring Seattle avant-gardist Amy Denio as both a member and producer), is a bit like painting an omelet. Based in Rome, OU (lit., “egg” in Sardinian) is an energetic and exciting sextet that lives – thrives, actually – at the intersection of jazz, pop, and the avant-garde. It’s music solidly rooted in composed forms and patterns but equally at home in improvisation; music that grooves, but not too predictably. Led by adept vocalist, composer, and multi-instrumentalist Ersilla Prosperi, OU seems defined more by spirit than style – the kind of group that could play a jazz or punk festival but probably wouldn’t fit in entirely at either. “Gallone Bocca Larga” juxtaposes syncopated minimalist vamps with straight-ahead swing and a skronky, odd-meter saxophone solo. The infectiously funky “S’Ou Abbattadu,” a Hammond B3/brass jam with the feel of a New Orleans street party march, contains a boisterous oratory on the virtues of scrambled vs. hard-boiled eggs. “Jengi’” at first suggests a pop-chanteuse along the lines of Yael Naim, but closes with a meditative, chant-like choral section that connotes a closing prayer. A thoroughly enjoyable listening experience that delights and surprises at nearly every turn, Scrambled is an adventurous album that is at once challenging, accessible, danceable, and thought-provoking. - Jeff Janeczko

(Disaster Amnesiac) Scrambled is right! Here Disaster Amnesiac was, having figured myself used to the Noise and extremely Avant-Garde offerings being sent over from Public Eyesore, and then this one arrives! Not that Disaster Amnesiac is complaining....far from it. Think about it this way: you've been served several odd elixers, thick with strange, otherworldly, unnamed tastes, and then a snifter of the finest, smoothest cognac arrives, along with the best of Cuban cigars, and you're asked to partake of them both. This is one of the feeling that I've had as Scrambled! has massaged my ear drums, in regard to previous Public Eyesore releases that I've heard. Seriously, my perceptions about it all have indeed been scrambled! There are many aspects of the this big(ish) band recording to enjoy, not the least of which is the voice of Martina Fadda. I guess it would be safe to say that Fadda is the featured performer herein, as eight of the nine tracks feature her pretty prominently. Stop checking your Facebook status for a second and think back to the preceding paragraph and recall the cognac analogy. Got it? Good, as it's most definitely her voice that provides a lot of that smooth feel. She also achieves a lovely sensuousness with her delivery in Spanish, Italian, English, and Portuguese. Is there a finer language in which to sing than the latter? If you find it, please let me know. Disaster Amnesiac has reveled at listening to her singing the whimsical lyrics of band leader Ersilia Prosperi. Martina has the kind of Jazz singing voice that relaxes the mind, taking the listener down cool, understated melodic streams. No yelling or shouting here, just really beautiful, skillful vocal technique and execution that runs the gamut through many powerful modes. Disaster Amnesiac knows from recent personal experience just how complicated it can be to play within a large ensemble, and it's partly that knowledge that makes listening to Ou's group interaction such an impressive subjective experience. All of the players navigate Scrambled!'s charts with skill and zest; they play funky Second Line in S'Ou Abbattadu, Euro-Free, seasoned with Mingus-like Cumbia flavoring, in Gallone Bocca Larga, evoke Bahia beauty choruses in Jengi; simply put, this group cooks. Especially impressive is the shimmery post-Chick Corea piano from Andrea Pesce and the deceptively simple drumming from Cristiano De Fabritils that swings madly with bassist Claudio Mosconi. Reeds players Amy Denio and Cristina Pecorario submit great solos and fine harmony playing alongside Prosperi. In that same way that Martina Fadda's vocals offer many unique moods within Scrambled!'s duration, so too do her charts, and the players that make up Ou are very much up to it. Disaster Amnesiac has not heard such sounds as these since Mark Apfelbaum's Hieroglyphics Ensemble was storming stages with Don Cherry in tow. Additionally, I'd like to submit a request that I Like You, a hilarious, short track of surreal humor, be played before most social functions from now on. As the shock of the novel sound of this Public Eyesore disc has given way to pure enjoyment of its great tunes and the flair of their International and Jazz fusions, Disaster Amnesiac has found myself transported to mental spaces that have been highly enjoyable and highly musical. If you're at all interested in Vocal Jazz or large ensemble Jazz, hell, just Jazz in general, you'll find a wealth of compelling examples of said forms on Scrambled!. It will surely pair well with your perceptions. - Mark Pino

(Improvijazzation Nation) It’s just as true today as it was when I first interviewed/reviewed Amy Denio (way back, in issue # 20)… anything she applies her musical talent to just SHINES! When I got to meet & review this great musical group from Italy (issue # 143), it only took a few bars to realize that she had picked another total winner to produce & tour with! The range of the music on this new release is, quite simply, astounding… all the way from the walking bass & vocal on the 7:27 closer, “Jengi“, to the superb rhythmic adventures on “Destiny Sneezed“, it’s total fun – without the considerable weight of a bunch of unnecessary “political overtones”. If you get no other music this year – GET this one! For this listener, it was the high spirited horns, piano, bass & voices on “Gallone bocca larga” (Gallon wide mouth) that won my vote for personal favorite track of the nine offered up for your aural edification… entertainment with imagination…. nothing better. I give the “OU” folks a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of (a perfect) 5.00 – meaning that it also gets the “PICK” of this issue for “most creative music”! - Rotcod Zzaj

(Avant Music News) Ou—a Rome-based Sardinian sextet—sound like no other group. Scrambled! is their second release, a set of music written by Ersilia Prosperi, the group’s trumpeter/flugelhornist/ukulele player. The nine songs, sung by Martina Fadda with the assistance of the others, are an uncategorizable collection of cheerfully skewed post-art songs in a babble of languages—Sardinian, French, Spanish, Portuguese, English and Pygmy, several of them often occurring in the same song. The arrangements are colorful, the rhythms delightfully off-center, and the logic dreamlike. - Dan Barbiero

(Babysue) Hmmm...when's the last time you heard music made by a band in Sardinia? This just might be the first time we've heard from a group on the rarely discussed island in the Mediterranean Sea. Because the band OU (which means egg in Sardinian) is from an unlikely place, we shouldn't be too surprised to find that the music is rather unusual. According to the press release that accompanied this album, this seven piece group "blurs the boundaries between jazz, world music, irony, ferocity and tenderness." To make things even more peculiar, the songs are sung in Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, French, English, and Pygmy (??!!). With all of these things considered, the compositions on Scrambled! are actually much smoother and accessible than you might guess. More than any other group, the music of OU reminds us in some ways of the ultra obscure band Henry Cow from the 1970s. This is a progressive album but it's not like all the other retro-progressive albums out there. These folks are coming from their own unique space...and the music is surprisingly friendly and listenable. Nine smart cuts including "Nochdenada," "Deificacao," "I Like You," and "Jengi." - Don Seven

(Blow Up) Various languages live together in the cosmopolitan world of OU, in a spirit of pacified harmony. The musical colors are predominantly Mediterranean, illuminated by a warm and intense light which gives forth a sense of vague dazedness and drunken lightness, like in a grand bazaar wrapped in the aromas of spices and ripe fruit. A veiled inclination towards exoticism, which also in this second release propels us on fantastic voyages in diverse latitudes, from frivolous French in Non C'è Niente Da Lavare to Latin American rumba in Nochdenada, from the veiled melancholy of the Portuguese soul in Deificação to the majestic gait of Jengi, which at the end of the journey puts everything back again into the hands of Mother Africa. This powerful ability to fluctuate between diverse imaginary worlds corresponds to an extreme mimicry of sounds, able to fill the space with ease between jazz to pop, transforming itself into a very personal idea of world music, where traditional music and surreal ideas live together (the minimal techno for Jew’s Harp (scacciapensieri) of I Like You, the vocal harmonies of classic Italian music (Gallone Bocca Larga) and the unorthodox rock of the group’s ‘godmother’ Amy Denio (Destiny Sneezed), the Sardinian/English soul-jazz of S’ou Abbattadu and the rich harmonies of Robert Wyatt in Andiamo a Conoscerci Meglio A Parigi. A beautiful confirmation. - Massimiliano Busti (Translated by Amy Denio)

(Sound Projector) Feeling mildly entertained by Scrambled! (SPOOT 2015OU / PUBLIC EYESORE PE132), the second album by OU, a small band of chamber musicians who appear to be mostly Italian but are based in Seattle; this record of nine songs, composed mostly by Ersilia Prosperi, was produced by the talented Amy Denio who also supplies woodwinds and backing vocals. OU play a species of ingenious circus-jazz not unlike the Kiv Orchestra or (to be even more obscure) Vladimir Bozar ‘n’ Ze Sheraf Orkestär. OU are not self-consciously wacky, but one can’t avoid the word “quirky” in attempting to characterise their lively combinations of musical styles and playful, unusual lyrics – sung in French, Italian, and English, mostly by Martina Fadda with interjections from Claudio Mosconi and other band members. The aesthetic ground rules for singing in OU require mannered enunciation, dramatic exaggeration, and a certain coyness in delivery that threatens to tip each song to the wrong side of irony. However, this is more than compensated for by the expertise of the musicians, who play unstintingly original arrangements with their small chamber ensemble of brass, percussion, keyboards and many other instruments. The coyness extends to the band bio; they aren’t keen on telling us much about themselves or their intentions, and instead offer cod-surrealist writings such as “OU comes from the far future, like a signal for our generation. Spotted at the circus, in a jazz club, in line at a mall during Christmastime, singing and laughing with a group of pygmies, partaking in a Thai cooking class.” It’s not easy to make music that lives up to a description like that, but OU sure give it their best shot. From June 2015. - Ed Pinsent


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