Rudi RecordsCreative Music and Adventurous Jazz

DownBeat: label profile

Rudi Records: A Product of Live Production | by Peter Margasak

Massimo Iudicone fell for jazz at a young age as part of his sweeping interest in the arts. At 17, Iudicone began organizing concerts and exhibitions and sought ways to combine dance, visual art, cinema and music. Twenty-five years later, Iudicone is still obsessed with the arts. He’s never stopped trying to make things happen, but in the last two years, his work has turned to something more archival and portable. Iudicone’s young Romebased label, Rudi Records, has quickly become a valuable part of Italy’s diverse jazz and improvisedmusic scenes. It focuses largely on homegrown players and their collaborations with musicians from abroad, whether it’s bassist Silvia Bolognesi improvising with New York reedist Sabir Mateen on Holidays In Siena, or the Iranian percussionist Mohssen Kasirossafar working with pianist Antonello Salis and trombonist Giancarlo Schiaffini on Live In Ventotene. Iudicone said the turning point in his aesthetic interests occurred in 2000, when he was introduced to the freewheeling, deeply inventive Italian Instabile Orchestra. “It was love at first sight,” Iudicone said. He began managing the group and working on festival productions with saxophonist Mario Schiano, a longtime member of the group. “After concerts, we would often meet with musicians in the lounges of the hotels and enjoy a good whiskey, talking about projects and the need to document certain types of music,” Iudicone said. “In 2008, Italy had a drastic cut in public funding to culture, and many of the festivals and exhibitions that I organized couldn’t continue. Hence, starting my own label in November of 2010 was almost natural.” Since then, Rudi has released 10 albums with a couple of more due by year’s end. Iudicone sees production and recording as an extension of his work as a festival programmer. “Now I produce albums that are purely artistic projects, artists that I would’ve wanted to invite to my festivals,” Iudicone said. In fact, quite a few of the Rudi founder’s releases were recorded live at one of his events. Live In Ventotene was actually recorded back in 2002 at the first installment of Iudicone’s Festival Rumori Nell’isola. For other projects, he assembles bands himself, such as the bracing trio of alto saxophonist Sandro Satta, bassist Roberto Bellatalla and drummer Fabrizo Spera on Re-Union. “Authenticity is the basis of my work with the label,” Iudicone said. “With improvised music, when a musician has something to communicate, to share, they are forced to do so if it’s a genuine gesture as an expression of their uniqueness. It’s no coincidence that I prefer, when possible, to have the recordings taken from concerts. A performance is unique and unrepeatable.” In addition to recording Mateen, Rudi has also released another Bolognesi collaboration with American players: Hear In Now, a terrific string trio featuring New York violinist and singer Mazz Swift and Chicago cellist Tomeka Reid. The label’s Italian talent ranges from well-known players like Schiaffini and fellow trombonist Sebi Tramontana on the improvised duo album Wind & Slap to lesserknown artists such as composer and flutist Massimo De Mattia. De Mattia finds an unusual intersection between chamber jazz, contemporary music and free improvisation on his meticulous Black Novel. “I’m definitely very interested in documenting Italian music,” Iudicone said. “Often, some of the greatest musicians are ignored because there is little about them in the media. But I certainly do not preclude the chance to continue working with musicians from around the world.”
(released on DownBeat, September 2012)

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