citta di vitti
several years ago (2007, if i am not mistaken), i wrote nearly 40 fragments while watching michelangelo antonioni's trilogy: L'AVVENTURA, LA NOTTE, L'ECLISSE, featuring the great italian actor monica vitti. the music was inspired by the films in a big way, and in particular i was interested in the way antonioni uses setting as a character, or how the environments might reflect or influence the narrative.
once i developed the fragments into compositions, i contacted lisa and jason ... for many years they had worked as DUO B, and so it was irresistible to chose a bass and drum unit that had already established a deep report and a creative approach to composition.
a few years went by, and jason moved to berlin. a few more years went by and he returned to the bay area, and now (2022) we have once again set out to make this music come alive. the compositions are as wildly divergent as antonioni's themes, settings, and moods. the connective tissue is vitti herself, and again, the way environment influences action. the trilogy explores the difficulty of maintaining lasting relationships, and - i hope - this ephemeral quality is embedded into the music.
photo by myles boisen
citta di vitti performs #11 by greenlief (above) and #36 (below)
sound recording by phil perkins video by omid zoufounoun
captured live at this performance:
LISA MEZZACAPPA BIO
Berkeley, CA-based composer and bassist Lisa Mezzacappa has been part of California’s vibrant music community for nearly 20 years. Her activities as a composer and ensemble leader include ethereal chamber music, electro-acoustic works, avant-garde jazz, music for groups from duo to large ensemble, and collaborations with film, dance, and visual art. Recent projects include Cosmicomics, a suite for electro-acoustic jazz sextet based on Italo’s Calvino’s stories about the cosmos; Organelle, a chamber work for improvisers grounded in scientific processes; Glorious Ravage, a song cycle for large ensemble and films drawn from the writings of Victorian lady adventurers; and Touch Bass, a collaboration with choreographer Risa Jaroslow for three dancers and three bassists. She also co-leads the community improvisation ensemble, the duo B. Experimental Band, with drummer Jason Levis, and is creating the serial audio opera The Electronic Lover in collaboration with writer Beth Lisick.
photo: tim rowe
JASON LEVIS BIO
The music of composer, drummer, and percussionist Jason Levis lives in the rich spaces where styles intersect and musical languages merge. His broad artistic scope to includes jazz, contemporary improvisation, and modern classical composition, and dub. Over the years his passion and curiosity have led him to search out the intersections of musical paths less traveled, and the resulting unique perspective is reflected in his music. Levis has led and been a collaborator in numerous ensembles in the San Francisco Bay Area and Berlin, Germany. These include the chamber/jazz ensembles Jason Levis Trio and Jason Levis Septet; live dub ensemble Joseph's Bones; the Berlin Boom Orchestra; the duo B. experimental band - a large ensemble for improvisers co-led by Lisa Mezzacappa; Junior Reggae, and many more. Levis holds a Ph.D. in composition from the University of California, Berkeley and is a Professor at the California Jazz Conservatory.