Mike McLatchey 16-September-2002 I.P. Son Group

Perhaps because it inhabits realms closer to the Aktualas and Battiatos of Italy, the sole album by I.P. Son Group has gone completely unnoticed by the labels reissuing the classic progressive work of the 70s. It also might be because I.P. Son Group, while being experimentally inclined, still seem a jazz band at heart and therefore relate very little with the common thread that sees most Italian 70s albums reissued. As a jazz band, I P Son Group are very much like Aktuala in that they share a fascination for cross-cultural musics, and throughout this album, the band experiment liberally with African and Middle Eastern styles. This would seem somewhat similar to the efforts of the Turkish-born, Sweden-raised hard bop/ethnic music of Oriental Wind, but while Oriental Wind might pull from the classic 61 period of Coltrane's Impulse stay as a base, I P Son Group have more in common with his later years and individuals such as Ornette Coleman and the Art Ensemble of Chicago. Yes, the basis of this album holds a certain amount in common with free jazz, but I. P. Son's incorporation of multi-percussion and noodly electric guitar into the general blowing nature of the saxes brings back memories from such diverse individuals as Fela Kuti, Pharaoh Sanders and Alice Coltrane in that their jazz stylings were so strongly motivated by African music studies. Generally, however, I. P. Son Group confines their cultural influences to that of Islamic countries, particularly of North Africa, with pieces like "Al Sabri" and "Sahara" giving a certain context to their jazz rambling. The album succeeds mostly for the exotic atmospheres, the percussion and winds rarely if ever exploding into noisy cacaphony. A pretty interesting album overall and certainly an oddity for it's origin.

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