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Grimal, Alexandra / Giovanni Di Domenico: Chergui [2 CDs] (Ayler)

Saxophonist Alexandra Grimal recorded this double CD with pianist Giovanni Di Domenico a the Theatre Du Chatelet, in Paris, France, for adventurous dialog in a dynamic set of original Di Domenico compositions plus freely improvised work, both duo and solo.

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product information:

UPC: 7320470171462

Label: Ayler
Catalog ID: 141-142
Squidco Product Code: 19756

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2014
Country: France
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold 3 Panels
Recorded at Theatre Du Chatelet, in Paris, France on May 21st and 22nd, 2013 by Celine Grangey.


Alexandra Grimal-tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone

Giovanni Di Domenico-piano

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Artist Biographies:

"Alexandra Grimal, born in Egypt in 1980, studied classical piano from five years old. Master's Degree in jazz saxophone under the guidance of John Ruocco at the Royal Conservatory of the Hague in the Netherlands (2005), she also studied in the "Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique" in Paris, and as an exchange student at the Sibelius Academy of Helsinki in Finland. She currently lives between New York and Paris."

-Alexandra Grimal Website (

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"Giovanni Di Domenico, pianist, performer, composer, was born in Rome on the 20th July 1977, a significantly tempestuous period in socio-political terms, featuring hostile polarizations and an ostensive paramilitarism, mutinous ideological confrontations and bloody terrorist attacks, rendered infamous in the description 'Years of Lead'. In that particularly caustic summer, the so-called 'Movement of 1977', non-aligned, without any ties to the Parliament and non-violent, broke into the scene of prevalent conspiracy-steeped paranoia condemning the repressive, discriminatory and authoritarian tendencies of the Italian State and demanding equality for minorities and further civil rights. The coinciding liberalization of the media market, putting an end to RAI's monopoly, further defined this period as the prime moment for pirate radio, with the consequence of a libertarian fragmentation of youth culture, epitomised by punk.

One could argue that Giovanni, self-taught until the age of 24, inherited - in philosophy, politics and artistically - the most benign and affirmative traits of that period, diversifying his action in the context of a recently unified Europe, promoting improbable connections, exploring varied geographies, comfortably manoeuvring aesthetical fringes and making a commitment to live performance at its most liberating and engaging. Surprisingly, the path that lead him to that point had an unexpected detour: following his father's consecutive assignments as a civil engineer he actually lived out his first decade in Africa - until he was five in Libya, from then until his eight anniversary in the Cameroons and until ten in Algeria. His far off native country was not synonymous with civil unrest as much as with opera, whose arias he would memorize with his siblings in order to practice the language and provide some family entertainment. The condition of expatriate had a strong influence in his education - he clearly remembers the calls of the muezzin, the sound of exotic musical instruments in local markets, the ritualistic expression music took in the streets of Yaoundé, or the songs he heard from his nanny in the Cameroons.

When he finally enrolled in music school - majoring in 'jazz piano'- he further built on an encyclopedic technique; rhythm, harmony and tone are informed by non-western traditions yet equally sensitive to Debussy's "Préludes", Luciano Berio's "Sequenzas", to the 'ambi-ideation' heard in Borah Bergman's Soul Note recordings, Cecil Taylor's polissemic density, Paul Bley's bruised transparency and of course, the most radical manifestations stemming from the underworld of pop music, invariably tied together by his own original praxis. A distinction - one would call it generational - he shares with many of the musicians he has crossed paths with recently, artists as different as Chris Corsano, Jim O'Rourke, Akira Sakata, Tetuzi Akiyama, Okkyung Lee, Balasz Pandi, Nate Wooley, Yan Jun, John Edwards, Darin Gray, Roger Turner, Steve Noble, DJ Sniff, Terrie Ex, David Maranha, Manuel Mota, Arve Henriksen, Norberto Lobo, Peter Jacquemyn, Alexandra Grimal, John Duncan, Tony Allen, Rafael Toral or Toshimaru Nakamura. Di Domenico has founded his own label, Silent Water, home of an eclectic and occasionally unclassifiable production. He lives in Brussels."

-Giovanni Di Domenico Website (Giovanni Di Domenico)

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track listing:


1. Prana 8:40

2. The Window Was Camel-less 3:55

3. Koan No 7 3:39

4. Koan No 8 3:53

5. Koan No 9 4:32

6. Koan No 11 4:59

7. Diotime Et Les Lions 14:55

8. Bi-fluore 250 3:04


1. Let Sounds Be Themselves 2:55

2. Tema Per Jan Svankmayer 6:14

3. Metacommentary 6:05

4. The Koln Concept 3:40

5. Koan No 6 4:01

6. Koan No 10 3:32

7. Tremebondo Mondo 3:58

8. Ballata Dei Piedl Volanti 3:22

9. Chein Savant 2:37

10. Sea Blooming 2:15

11. Sea Blooming 4:18

12. Harmattan 5:22
sample the album:

descriptions, reviews, &c.

"Alexandra Grimal goes in her own way, elegant but robust, through the territories of jazz and improvised music over recent years. It was only natural she would meet and regularly play in duet settings with Giovanni di Domenico, as versatile an adventurer as Alexandra is, both in his musical choices and collaborations. Three years after their first recording together (2011's Ghibli on the Sans Bruit label), Chergui was recorded over two nights at the Théâtre du Châtelet (Paris, France) and showcases solos and duets, either based on Giovanni's compositions or improvised on the spot to catch the emotion of the moment."-Ayler

"Born in Cairo to a musical family, saxophonist Alexandra Grimal grew up between Egypt and Paris listening to classical music and jazz, alongside many other styles. She began studying piano classical at the age of five, and at thirteen years switched to saxophone and jazz, influenced by Louis Armstrong , Coltrane and Miles Davis. She went to study the saxophone in 2000 at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague under the tutelage of saxophonist and clarinetist American John Ruocco. In 2003, Alexandra Grimal joined the jazz department of the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, Finland, with a grant from the European exchange program Socrates. In 2004 she moved to the Netherlands, where she obtained a bachelor in 2005 and a master's degree in saxophone at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague.

In 2005 Alexandra Grimal returned to France and continued her studies at the National Superior Conservatory of Music and Dance in Paris, and began performing in clubs at jam sessions, including La Fontaine. In 2007 she began a residency at the Banff Centre in Canada. She created Alexandrophone, a work of contemporary music with Ben Shemie for soprano saxophone and electronic music. In 2009 she won the "Fondation Jean-Luc Lagardère," which allowed her to record Owls Talk with Lee Konitz , Gary Peacock and Paul Motian. The same year she released her first album as a trio Shape with Antonin Rayon (organ) and Emmanuel Scarpa (drums), followed in 2010 with its European Seminaro Vento quartet consisting of pianist Giovanni Di Domenico , bassist Manolo Cabras, and drummer Joao Lobo, album rewarded with a shock of Jazz Magazine. She received a MacDowell Fellowship in 2009 and received a two-month stay at the prestigious MacDowell Colony, an artists' colony in New Hampshire. This experience of isolation and creative artistic encounters fed her work and allowed her to concentrate on writing her future compositions (including her album Andromeda.

Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
European Improvisation, Composition and Experimental Forms
Free Improvisation
Duo Recordings
Solo Artist Recordings

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