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Italian saxophonist Edoardo Marraffa and drummer Stefano Giust meet West Coast/touring pianist Thollem McDonas for an album of focused and spirited free improvisation recorded live in Bologna.

Polishing the Mirror

MAGIMC: Polishing the Mirror (Amirani Records)
Label: Amirani Records    
Released in: Italy    

"Oustanding performers, high concentration, remarkable interplay! Awesome trio featuring the unmistakable powerful Edoardo Marraffa on tenor&sopranino saxes, the bold piano exploring of Thollem McDonas, the pushing dash on drums by Stefano Giust in a far from conventional, passionate and cutting edge concert recorded live in Bologna.-Amirani Records"

"The background of this trio is rich and varied, yet it is difficult to define their music as eclectic, because the factors that come into play in the relationship of composition, the different materials that make up the music, is developed in depth and time, in an original language. Change and transformation are under investigation, in this group: the harmonic relations, the melodic and rhythmic counterpoint always goes in different paths, sometimes evolving slowly, at times subjected to sudden acceleration, while maintaining a certain independence and complexity that allows a multi-dimensional musical journey, the trio of musicians prefer a unity of purpose and cohesion that leads them to an intense and expressive communicative. Each of the three musicians work with many international musicians, producing a lot of concerts and records through the years.

Thollem McDonas is constantly on tour as a soloist and in collaboration with various groups and musicians, has performed in theaters, art galleries, universities, elementary schools, concert halls, jazz clubs, rock clubs, festivals, warehouses, private homes, roads, forests, riots, television, radio and internet. He has performed symphony concerts for piano, has performed with groups of West African drummers, Javanese gamelan orchestras, punk bands, with hundreds of improvisational groups, and as pianist / composer for opera and modern dance.

Edoardo Marraffa devotes his attention to the transformation (acoustic) sound of his instrument, which becomes a source of polyphonic and with continuous changes of timbre and improvisation understood as collective composition. Has given rise to numerous musical projects and collaborates with international musicians. He has performed in many festivals dedicated to jazz and improvised music in Europe and America.

Stefano Giust is a drummer, electronic music composer and producer - since '93 for his label Setola Di Maiale, which produces his work as the work of many artists -. In the last thirty years his work has focused on the broad spectrum of improvised and experimental music; it develops into many different achievements, in which indeterminate music hold a central role. He collaborates with musicians, composers, filmmakers, dancers, actors, poets, visual artists. He has performed in all Europe and Brasil."-Magimc Website

"Thollem is a pianist, keyboardist, organist, composer, improviser, singer-songwriter, activist, author and teacher. He's spent his life skirting and erasing the edges of boundaries musically, culturally, geographically. His work is ever changing, evolving and responding to the times and his experiences, both as a soloist and in collaboration with hundreds of artists across idioms and disciplines. Though Thollem's widely known as an acoustic piano player, he's also the lead vocalist for the Italian agit-punk band Tsigoti and has recently branched out significantly into the world of electronics through a multitude of projects.

Thollem was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, studying the standard classical piano repertoire, composing and improvising since he was a young child and absorbing the myriad of sounds of his culturally diverse upbringing. After dedicating his 20s and 30s to grassroots political activism, he's refocused his attention these last 15 years on a breadth of musics that incorporate his myriad experiences and curiosities. In this last decade alone, he has played well over 1,000 concerts throughout N. America and Europe as a soloist and in collaboration with hundreds of musicians, dancers, and filmmakers. As leader or co-leader, he has released over 50 albums in that span on 22 different vanguard labels to international critical acclaim. "Thollem is an astounding pianist who understands the huge scope of the instrument" (Terry Riley) and who continues to delve into the furthest reaches and sub-genres of Post-Classical, Free Jazz, Noise, Punk, dance and film. A brief cross section of his many recent collaborators include William Parker, Pauline Oliveros, Stefano Scodanibbio, Nels Cline, Mike Watt, Rob Mazurek, Martha Colburn and ACVilla. He is the founding director of Estamos Ensemble, a Mexican-American cross border ensemble for musical exchange as well as the lead singer of the Italian agit-punk band Tsigoti. Presently Thollem is developing an audio/visual experience about America through an 8 month, 48 state odyssey with his partner the videographer ACVilla. He's also a published author about art, politics and his travels in The Anthology of Essays On Deep Listening, Full Moon Magazine (Prague) and First American Art Magazine."

-Thollem McDonas Website (

Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
European Improv, Free Jazz & Related
West Coast/Pacific US Jazz
Trio Recordings
Objects and Home-made Instruments

Get additional information at Magimc Website

Search for other titles on the Amirani Records label.

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Product Information:

Label: Amirani Records
Catalog ID: AMRN031
Squidco Product Code: 16808

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2012
Country: Italy
Packaging: Digipack
Recorded live at Scuola Popolare di Musica, Bologna, Italy by Ivan Illich on May 14th, 2011.


Edoardo Marraffa-tenor saxophone, sopranino saxophone

Thollem McDonas-piano

Stefano Giust-drums, cymbals, objects

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Track Listing:

1. Polishing the mirror 16:07

2. Lucidare la lente 7:35

3. Lucidare la retina 8:12

4. Hinges 2:32

5. Ritorno 6:40