Daniel Barbiero: double bass
Perry Conticchio: reeds and flutes
Rich O'Meara: vibes and percussion
This music was inspired by the interplay of light and shadow, in both the literal and figurative senses. Each is necessary to the other, like Daoism's yin and yang or Empedocles' Love and Strife. In opposition, they create a drama of contrast and contradiction. Mixed together, they produce a spectrum of shadings in varying proportions. The same holds true of music: Tone, amplitude, density and above all mood as encoded in harmony find parallels in the different degrees of admixture of dark and light. At the center is an opalescent zone in which opposites are subsumed and conserved at the same time.
a review by Paolo Casertano of The Free Jazz Collective:
"Colla Parte is, according to the musical terminology, the instruction for accompanists to follow the lead of a solo performer. The trio features double bassist Daniel Barbiero, flutist Perry Conticchio and vibraphonist/percussionist Rich O’Meara and it is here on its second release after the convincing debut “Field/Figures” in 2011. The reference environment whence the group’s name comes from, to be found mainly in classical music, gives us some valid clues to Colla Parte’s compositional conception. The personal jazz and experimental heritages of the members, as much as their different improvising attitudes, are melded and linked from a binding classical background. The use of shared structures as counterpoint and the constant turnover of the leading voices gives to this small ensemble the chance to build a rich musical environment that is pretty well balanced between chamber music, highly lyrical peaks and incisive interplays, and at the same time not miss freedom and spontaneity in an organized contest.
The strongly cinematic atmosphere of the opening track lies on a substratum of double bass low and bowed waves together with distant “electronic” vibraphone touches provided by O’Meara (it reminds me of someone who is walking and whistling), over which Conticchio’s sax moves warmly, providing melodic phrasings or scattered inlays. The tone of Conticchio, who has a 35-year career including performances with Don Cherry and Anthony Braxton, is warm and enveloping, while Barbiero and O’Meara are at ease switching between the polyphonic scenario springing from their bowing and mallet percussions in the second track to the thin and fitting frame they provide in the third episode working on pizzicato, drums and cymbals. Obviously, following the evolution of their titles (Antumbra/Penubra/Umbra – which are the Latin names given to three distinct parts of a shadow), this opening triptych is not just a manifesto of the band’s purpose to explore contrasts of lights and shadows, but also a prelude to the central composition of this work, the self-titled (and logically consequent) 35 minute “A Cast Of Shadow”. Growing in humus sprinkled with ethnic metallic and wooden percussions and austere bass bowing, the ethereal presence of the flute is soon replaced by the sax, establishing a thick dialogue made up of short phrases with the constant presence of the double bass (even when it goes pizzicato). Barbiero, as in his former solo work, unsheathes his contemporary and avant-garde vision, and supplies a non invasive but fundamental trestle during the whole development of the piece. This long suite deserves deep listening and concentration, the musicians never choose eruptions and easy climaxes, and they always maintain control over their outputs. The last third of “Cast of Shadow” is rhythmically more challenging and traditional jazz oriented, but the main and most interesting aspect of Colla Parte’s music keep on being the capacity for alternating musical registers and genres with no fractures but rather with the creation of an harmonized, coherent and original musical universe.
The chilling coda drives us out from this intense listening experience."
A review by Italian new music blogger Ettore Garzia:
"The second discographic installment from Colla Parte, the trio of Barbiero (double bass), O’Meara (vibes and percussion), and Conticchio (sax and flute), recaptures in its title the artistic line that constituted the object of musical observations of “Fields and figures”: here, in place of the figurative fields, the theme is transferred to contrasts of material and in particular those of contrasts in light. To tell the truth we are confronted here with a musical system where a further intuition is necessary before comprehending the ideas of the three musicians, and that is of succeeding in penetrating into the two zones of shadow and light, without a strict distinction; once made a myriad of actors and relations (induced by the capacity of the music to create these figures) moves within these zones, restoring a magnificent dignity to the instruments. “A Cast of Shadows” is composed of three initial compositions in which the process of material transformation (from luminous to opaque and vice versa) is delineated with sounds consistent with the musical experiences of the group constructing an appendix for “Field and figures”; while the title track, a “free” composition of about 35 minutes (the body of the work) represents a deepening and a sign of variation in relation to the group’s usual dynamics.
The work of O’Meara is even more subtle than usual, an intermittent and variable support for the free form of the trio, that of Barbiero (particularly at the beginning of the work) is a dialogue that recalls chamber Beethoven fully immersed in a freedom of exposition, while to Conticchio is entrusted the most difficult task, that of representing the gamut that naturally most tends to yield to the expressive tendencies of those musical sensations as mediated through the instruments, which go in search of an atmosphere they carry back in an oblique compartment where one can imagine Dexter Gordon's breaks in a jazz club, the dynamics of the free sounds with their concrete opening to dissonance. Ultimately, “A Cast of Shadows” becomes a musical “flux,” something at the borders of free jazz, creative music and free improvisation to be listened to again and again without interruption, tending to institutionalize that graduated passage between light and obscurity, giving it a personal exposition.