Antonio Raia

Antonio Raia is a saxophonist, composer and improviser, from Naples. He is an expert on creative writing alternatives to the pentagram. He loves the relationships between music and other arts but does not like to be labeled in a specific genre, although his name is known in avant-jazz circuits. "Asylum" is his first album, made in collaboration with the sound engineer Renato Fiorito and published by the Portuguese label Clean Feed Records.

Antonio Raia: a new art-jazz star on sax, under Vesuvius, with his first album “Asylum”

There is a tenor saxophone down the slope of the volcano Vesuvius. It belongs to Antonio Raia, a young Neapolitan musician and improviser arrived at his first album with Asylum, released by the Portoguese label Clean Feed Records, after a couple of Eps and many experiences both in studio and live, even alongside names like Chris Corsano, Adam Rudolph, Elio Martusciello, Alvin Curran, Colin Vallon, Caterina Palazzi and many others.

The solo sax, which proceeds through long breaths and warm tones, is the absolute protagonist, without any filter. The compositions are presented as hybrids between pentagram and graphics – writing techniques that bound together contemporary classical music and free form music – and move in dynamic mode between melody, armony and time.

The Raia’s tracks are linked to the peculiarities of the avant-jazz scene, which in recent years has been receiving great attention, but they avoid any pre-estabilished definition, in favor of total freedom of expression. The numerous projects in various artistic fields are a confirmation: over 500 concerts throughout Europe including festivals, contemporary art museums and clubs, collaborations with poets and visual artists, activities in orchestra and for film music.

“There is no tree that want to hurt the garden / There is no child who hasn’t had a womb / There is no human who can’t be asylum”. Asylum conveys important and actual socio-political metaphors: every human being should welcome other people, every home could be a refuge. The album’s title refers to the ex Asylum Filangieri in Naples. The recordings took place in the empy refectory of the disused orphanage. It’s no coincidence that in the tracklist we can find Refugees, but also The Children In The Yard and Lullaby.

The city of Naples has a significant role, self-evident in the touching approach and in the choice of proposing two traditional tracks, Torna a Surriento and Dicintencello vuje. The twelve tracks, put in order like the chapters of a book, are completed by the jazz standard Misty and by nine original songs that always keep a strong relationship between sound and space. Listen to The Lights Insight Scream: the one that screams, in the obsessive attenton to details, is the emotion, illuminating a noir mood. The dramaturgical Fire On Heart starts with a Morriconian whistle, to recall Alessandro Alessandroni, and then makes the notes burn deeply.

The sound is totally acoustic, live-recorded, whithout overdubs or electronic effects, in order to respect the authenticity and passion that moves the music.

The “partner in crime” Renato Fiorito, sound engineer and electroacoustic composer, has identified ten microphones and distributed them in the ex Asylum according to specific parameters. In the upcoming live events he will add electronics in field recording to recreate an environment in which the two musicians move.

In this age of conflict, Antonio Raia’s sax opens to empathy. Returning to the “root” and its simple complexity.

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