First time I heard of Daniele D'Agaro, it was in 2011. I came across a couple of records by HatOLOGY, Strandjutters and Chicago Overtones, into a record shop. I haven't bought those albums, nor tried to download some of his music. At that time, I was listening to a lot of contemporary stuff sent to me from around the world, mostly Turkey, plus a lot of reissues, to give me some background in order to judge properly the newest material, to know the roots of this music. But I was very curious about this clarinet player, so now that I had the opportunity to listen to his newest creation, this trio documented through the album Tea Time issued by label Rudi Records, it is the right time to deepen his figure and music.
D'Agaro, clarinet player, started his activity in 1979 and he moved to Berlin for a couple of years. In 1983 he moved again to Amsterdam where he started collaborating with some of the most representative names in the field of improvisation as Benny Bailey, Misha Mengelberg and Louis Moholo-Moholo. In 1989 he gave life to a trio with Tristan Honsinger and Ernst Glerum, creating a style of improvised music bathed in Kwela music (South Africa) and folk; from that period on his interest in different styles of music flourished, incorporating folk music from Friuli and gregorian chant. D'Agaro is not an enemy of contemporaneity, as his collaboration with Richard Teitelbaum testifies.
I've written diffusely of flutist Massimo De Mattia in this post. As far as the third member of this trio, double bassist Giovanni Maier, he is well known here in Italy for his projects related to his instrument, documented in a series of beautiful records for bass solo. In 1996 he worked with Butch Morris for the Conduction n° 61 in Berlin, and between the other musicians he collaborated with there are Cecil Taylor, Anthony Braxton, Roswell Rudd, Han Bennink, Tim Berne, Ernst Reijseger.
How's the music on this record? It is music fully integrated in the history of improvised music. Long flows, abruptly interruptions, triple chords, silence, all the rethoric elements of improvisation are here present to be enjoyed by the fans of this style of music. I love it. Anyway, there's no progress. This album is symptomatic of a more general situation in the world of improvised music nowadays. Many new musicians are trying to develop their own style, more or less disengaged from the blue notes and the mood of african-american music as it happens from the 1970s, but sometimes the music is poorer than the one developed by the likes of Evan Parker or Peter Brotzmann.
On the other hand, you have a bunch of musicians, as the ones featured in this record, who master just fine their own art, and who fit perfectly in the history of improvised music. The fact that they aren't renovating it, creating NEW music, is not their own fault. We lack, I believe, a new vision of the world, a new vision of society, as musicians as Anthony Braxton or Don Cherry had in the past. This lack is part of our heritage, it is the real problem. Music comes after. But for the moment, I invite you to enjoy this music as brilliant as it is.