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An audio-visual journey into the Italian 60ies movies culture
Music from Spaghetti western, noir and crime movies
Originally composed by Ennio Morricone, Luis Bacalov, Carlo Rustichelli,
Riz Ortolani, Piero Umiliani, Armando Trovajoli… and more
Arranged by:
Marco Cappelli, guitar/composition
Luca Lo Bianco, bass Francesco Cusa, drums
Andrea “Lapsus” Pennisi, visuals
“Think of Italian guitarist Marco Cappelli’s ITALIAN SURF ACADEMY as a
mixture of Dick Dale and John Zorn, or perhaps a far-out musical
crossbreeding of the Ventures with a mind-blowing, avant-garde jazz
education. Whether you’re touring the seaside cobblestone streets of Calabria
via Vespa scooter or surfing the swells of Manhattan Beach, balance is crucial.
And in this heady amalgam of 1950s and ’60s American surf rock, psychedelia
and folkloric Italian melodies, Cappelli and his Italian Surf Academy have
embraced that concept wholeheartedly… It’s the musical equivalent of pouring
Peroni into pineapple juice, and the resulting concoction is : oh-so-tasty!”
"Take one Italian guitarist active in the Downtown Improvisation and New
Music scene - combine with youthful influences of movie music and Spaghetti
Westerns - mix well with a love of '60s Surf Sound (think The Ventures, Beach
Boys, etc.) bathed in reverb - anchor with a solid rhythm section of bass and
drums.. and you get the Italian Surf Academy! Certainly the baddest bad
Morricone you've ever heard - as well as themes from other '60s Italian
soundtrack stalwarts such as Piero Umiliani, Riz Ortolani, Carlo Rustichelli,
Armando Trovajoli, and Luis Enriquez Bacalov!...."
“…The group's new album, "The American Dream" (Mode), features
improvisations on themes by the aforementioned composers delivered with a
sensibility found in some of the work of Nels Cline, Bill Frisell and Marc Ribot,
among others associated with New York's downtown avant-garde jazz scene.
It's a fascinating exploration of engaging music. "Django" stays true to the
melody and atmosphere of Mr. Bacalov's theme to Sergio Corbucci's 1966 film of
the same name, but the trio allows it to crumble amid a flurry of independent
soloing. After a sudden stop, the musicians resume the theme. Then Mr. Cappelli
begins a rubbery reggae rhythm and his mates join in. All the while, the twangy
surf guitar remains at the forefront courtesy of Mr. Cappelli's Gretsch guitar…”
from the lines of the cd The American Dream, published by the New York
based record label Mode Records
Back then in the ‘50s - ‘70s, the U.S. was more than a
geographic place, it was a concept which we dreamed of
belonging to: the prairies, a cowboy on his horse riding
into the sunset encompassed by that warm guitar sound
with a lot of reverb. This image was made up by the
American movie industry and copied in many movies
with a “made in Italy” label, shouted in Italy or abroad by
Italian directors. That’s why we decided to work on our
“Italian Surf Sound” version. Those so called B-movies at
the time, (by directors like Mario Bava, Sergio Corbucci,
Sergio Leone and others) have today reached the status of
“cult movies”, together with the music that accompanied
their landscapes.
The Neapolitan adopted in New York guitarist Marco Cappelli has a peculiar
artistic path which allows him to easily move from the execution of the strictest
musical writing to the freest improvisation. In his projects, Cappelli lets his
heterogeneous musical experiences meet, proposing programs which links the
traditional contemporary repertory and the brave experimentation. The diversity of
Marco’s performances is due to a fascinating array of collaborations
In the ITALIAN SURF ACADEMY, pretending to revisit the traditional ItaloAmerican musical patrimony of the 60s and 70s, he develops that downtown sound
that he has absorbed working next to the most important names of the New York
aerea, such as John Zorn, Marc Ribot, Elliott Sharp, Anthony Coleman, Adam
Rudolph, only to name a few. Next to him, the drummer and composer from
Catania Francesco Cusa, one of the most demanded jazz musician and improviser
in the contemporary jazz scene, the double bass player from Palermo Luca Lo
Bianco, amongst the best contemporary Sicilian jazzmen, and the Italo-French
musician and video artist Andrea “Lapsus” Pennisi. Marco has recorded for three
solo guitar cds : "Fantasia per Ensemble" and "Yun Mu"for the for the Italian labels
TDS and ITINERA and for the American Mode Records, Ictus, New World,
Underwolf and finally on John Zorn’s Tzadik.
Born in Palermo in 1974, Luca Lo Bianco starts studying very soon the electric bass
before moving to the double bass. Under the direction of the Maestro Franco Muzzi,
he obtained the maximum score in the degree of the Conservatory “Vincenzo Bellini”
of Palermo. In 2011, he completed his Masters in Jazz summa cum laude in the same
conservatory, where he is now Professor of Electric Bass.In more than fifteen years of
activity, Luca Lo Bianco has built most of his musical career abroad, playing in
Austria, Switzerland, USA, Malaysia, Portugal, Spain, Holland, France, Slovenia, and
Germany. Since 2004, he collaborated with the songwriter Pippo Pollina, with whom
he recorded two albums “Casablanca” (2005) and “Ultimo Volo” (2007), a civil prayer
for the victims of the air disaster of Ustica. In January 2006, the theater and music
show he creates, La Scomparsa di Majorana (The Disappearance of Majorana) was
presented in a world première at the Werkstatt der Kulturen in Berlin, gathering a
remarkable success of critics and public. An album from the show was published in
Silta Records label. He is one of the founding members of FITZCARRALDO RECORDS
label and the Orchestra In-stabile DIS/accordo [OID], in which he is also the Director,
alongside Francesco Guaiana. The O.I.D. is a variable ensemble of 15 elements whose
performances are based on methods of collective improvisation and contemporary
practice. It practices an unconventional approach to direction through the method of
conduction. He played in 2011 in the United States with the trio Italian Surf Academy
(M. Cappelli and F. Cusa) and the collective Naked Musicians, playing alongside Elliott
Sharp, Mauro Pagani, Cristina Zavalloni, Jim Pugliese. The same year, he played in the
“Opera Italia” project, led by Mauro Pagani, at the Teatro Politeama Palermo with the
orchestra of the Conservatory V. Bellini in Palermo. He participated as soloist at Go
Organic Orchestra, conducted by Adam Rudolph.
Drummer and composer born in Catania in 1966 and graduated at the DAMS of
Bologna in 1994 with a thesis on “the extra-musical elements in jazz performance”,
Francesco Cusa has played, among others, with artists such as Paolo Fresu, Tino
Tracanna, Attilio Zanchi, Bruno Tommaso, Larry Smith, Walter Schmocker, Gianni
Gebbia, Fabrizio Puglisi, Domenico Caliri, Cristina Zavalloni, Jay Rodriguez, Butch
Morris, Jon Rose, Michel Godard, Kenny Wheeler, Garbis Dedeian, Steve Lacy, Tim
Berne, Elliott Sharp, Andy Sheppard, Michael Riessler, Yves Robert, Zu, Assif Tsahar
Natalia M.King Lionel Rolland, Dj.Pushy Christophe Monniot, Tanja Feichtmair Manu
Codjia, Emil Spany, Arrington De Dionyso, Gianluca Petrella, Claudio Lugo, Marco
Cappelli, Jean Marc Montera, Ab Baars, Ig Henneman, Danilo Gallo, Giovanni Falzone,
Amy Denio, Vincenzo Vasi, Mike Cooper, Pacorig Giorgio, Paolo Sorge, Pasquale
Innarella Tony Cattano, Silvia Bolognesi, Leila Adu, Marta Raviglia, Henry Cook,
Giacomo Ancillotto Roberto Raciti, Federico Squassabia, Gaia Mattiuzzi, Don Byron,
Peter van Bergen, Mauro Pagani, Ron Anderson, Francesco Cafiso, Dan Kinzelman,
Emilio Galante Simone Zanchini, Lisa Mezzacappa, Kyoko Kitamura, Gabriele
Mirabassi, the visual artist Fred Gautnier, the Wu Ming collective of writers and the
writer Andrea Inglese. Co-founder of the collective Bassesfere Bologna, Francesco
Cusa is currently engaged in the artistic project of killer communication
“Improvvisatore Involontario”.
“He is co- leader of the following projects :
SKINSHOUT! (Gaia Mattiuzzi/F.Cusa) SWITTERS (Gebbia/Pots/Cusa) MANSARDA,
WAR DUO (Marcello Di Lorenzo/F. Cusa), EZEKIEL 25:17 (with Dean Bowman and
Danilo Gallo). He works also with the PAOLO SORGE “Jazz Waiters” (Sorge, Senni,
Cattano, Cusa), the HOMAGE TO STANLEY KUBRICK (Manzoni, Campobasso, Senni,
Cusa) ITALIAN SURF ACADEMY (Marco Cappelli, Luca Lo Bianco, Cusa), In recent
years, Francesco Cusa is a writer and a cinematographic critic for the magazine Lapis.
Lapsus is an artistic agent provocateur, but also producer, published, performer,
musician, d-jay and v-jay. Keen on the interaction between music and the magic, he
has created the visuals for the concerts Horrible Porno Stuntmen, Sic Alps, Olimpic
Explosion in 2011 (Olimpic Café, Paris, New Year's eve) Guappecarto (France),
Rigenera festival 2012, Sonia Brex, Les Yeux de la Tête (France), Lo Schiaffo del Sold
Out, Festival di Improvvisatore Involontario, Babilon Suite, 1.2.Hoc Null (Germany),
Marco Cappelli's Italian Surf Academy. He has participated in several djset, such as
Total Science, Koan Sound, Fare Soldi, Dario Blatta, AV Paradise Project, Afrobit.He is
the resident veejay at Café Pulp in Catania and regular guest in live/djset such as
Garage (La Chiave of Catania), Catania Elettronicamente at Café Glamour in Catania,
Pulp Cine Music Art in Catania and at the “Bureau des fantasmes urbains de Ornic'Art
in Marseille.Among other visual projects, he has participated as a musician in
different projects such as in the multimedia performance“The Parola è supposta”Lapsus and Dario Blatta, “Serpentine performance” aerial dance by Annalusi
Rapicavoli, in which he is both music composer and creator of lights.His format
“Visionaria Lapsus selection”, which selects and remixes live music and videos was
produced in Catania, Naples, Antwerp, Milan, Marseille, Paris, Toulouse. His audiovideo installation “L'Acqua è mia” (The water is mine), with sounds of water and iron
scraps, was brought out for the Concerto per l'Acqua (Concert for water), promoted
by the Committee against the privatization of water from the city of Catania.