Jooklo Duo & Bill Nace – Scratch LP
While touring together
last year, Virginia Genta and David Vanzan of Jooklo Duo and guitar noise improv
master Bill Nace recorded this high energy collaboration, Scratch, at Seizures
Palace in Brooklyn. The result you may have expected: full-throttle free-jazz
noise gallivanting. And you would be right, but it is doubtful one could fully
predict the value and pure euphoria that this collaboration has actually
Scratch is comprised of
two tracks, each completing a side of the disc. The record starts off with the
squeal of Genta’s sax and the screech of Nace’s punished guitar hissing at one
another as Vanzan’s thunderous percussion tumbles into the mix, setting
everything into an immediate tailspin. The sound remains at a full tumultuous
volume, like a rolling car wreck that just won’t settle. Surely you’ve heard
noisy free-jazz do this before, but it is unlikely you’ve heard it done so
brilliantly, and seemingly innately so. And due to the trio’s roller-coaster
dynamism and unending inventive energy, it is impossible for a listener to
habituate to their hyperactivity, as change is the only constant here. These
players haven’t forgotten the freedom that their improvisation is founded on and
successfully avoid traps of convention and routine that can even exist for a
“genre” designed to be rid of inherent traditions. Punk became a convention,
noise did as well, and there is now a plethora of contrived improvisational
jazz, but Nace and Jooklo subscribe to none of these molds and have proven that
an improv record can still be fresh, cohesive, and just bad ass.
Over the course of the
two lengthy tracks, no instrument assumes its position or acts in debt to any
established roles. Nor do the players seem to engage in some active
conversation, but rather, all participate in some violent unconscious séance,
raising hell for shits and giggles, discovering nothing at the end of their
cerebral journey other than their own forms, and choosing to marvel at
themselves instead of succumbing to existential dread.
Scratch is some hardcore
fucking ecstasy driven by intuition and musical blood lust, definitely, but the
record finishes us off with hushed meditation and unexpected atmospheric
expansion. We’re eased out of the action gracefully, leaving a longer-lasting
flavor with greater complexity on our palates.
This record really must
by heard. I would dare to preemptively elect this release as record of the
year. (The Esoterrorist, March 26th, 2012)
Jooklo Duo & Bill Nace–Scratch LP
"SICK SICK SICK CLASSIC
ETERNAL WILD RIDE, MAN
SUPER F#CKING INTENSE, ONE FOR THE AGES, TOTAL STONE KEEPER
THINK OF THE SIMPLE POTENTIAL COMBO OF SAX, AXE & DRUMS
POTENTIAL TO SUCK MIGHTILY IS WAY HIGH, BUT THIS REC TORCHES THE SKIN OFF THE
THE ENERGY TRIANGLE BETWEEN YOU THREE IS SO CRANKED AND FULL ON
IT IS A MASTERPIECE OF SUPREME BLOWN OUT FREAKAZOID WAILING
(Jackson, Flipped Out Records. March 24th, 2012)
Jooklo Duo and Bill Nace's
Scorching Free-Improv LP, 'Scratch'
Virginia Genta and David Vanzan—self-taught students and
torchbearers of the avant-garde, most notably the explorations of American free
jazz—are Jooklo Duo. As a two-piece and as collaborators, Genta and Vanzan have
been creating dynamic, mesmerizing improvised music that defies categorization
for the better part of a decade.
Last year, the pair travelled to the US and undertook a tour with
guitar-experimentalist (and Thurston Moore’s go-to noise-buddy) Bill Nace. In
between shows, the trio managed to secure some studio time at Seizures Palace in
Brooklyn to document this monumental meeting of fire and electricity—the results
of which can be heard on the new Holidays Records release, Scratch.
Comprising two side-long pieces and limited to 350 copies, Scratch is a searing
summit between Genta’s fire-spewing saxophone, Vanzan’s powerful percussive
tumble, and Nace’s napalm-shower guitar. Not noise, not jazz,Scratch is pure
energy and intuition—a blsitering conversation between three of the world's most
exciting improvisers. (Jeff Conklin, East Village
Radio, March 19th, 2012)
Live: Jooklo Duo Beats The Heat
And Clears The Air At Silent Barn
"I had forgotten why I hadn't been to
Silent Barn in months. When I walked in last night, I remembered: dead air. Not
in the radio sense. Maybe the atmosphere could pass for sultry, if not for the
mildewy musk. And the single ceiling fan in the main room—well, it's just living
a lie. Still, it's an easygoing funhouse of hallways and stairways splattered
with colorful junk, and the bills tend to be high-energy/low-fuss collisions of
punk and noise, and there's a cat. Last night it also hosted the last area
appearance of Italy's cosmic-jazz flame-throwers Jooklo Duo, who'd popped up at
Issue and the Stone during the past couple of weeks.Before that could happen,
the trio Devon, Gary and Ross played. Surely some slapdash trio of neighbors,
except... say, that's Gary Panter with the guitar. And his devil-won't-care trio
has an evolved notion of fucking around with rock's pebbles, tossing off some
seasick sci-fi vamp and then ducking into a cracked spy-jazz tune. Then they
turned out deeply messed-with versions of July's lysergic late-'60s nugget
"Dandelion Seeds" and Funkadelic's anti-Vietnam song "March to the Witch's
Castle." Sitting in the jungle-like air, it was hard not to be a little
stupefied. The pedigree of the night belonged to the next trio, as the most
avant-versatile man in town, C. Spencer Yeh, teamed with Ju Suk Reet Meate and
Jackie Oblivia of noise pioneers Smegma. Arranged around a small buffet littered
with toys, a microphone, an old record player and some modified noise-making
objects, the three projected spare constellations into the air, lines and shapes
that overwrote each other playfully and a little absurdly. It was so right with
the environment that, late in the set, the orange tabby sauntered through the
crowd and under the table, as if nothing was amiss.
The air needed clearing, though—a job for Jooklo. Virginia Genta is a wee lass
who handles her sax like Zeus does lightning. Her partner David Vanzan is a
lanky basher of things, unleashing flowing rolls and bursts with more of a rock
provenance than you normally get with fire music. They fully inhabit the '60s
free-jazz aesthetic by blasting it into the present. Intrinsic to the spirit of
their music is that there is room for more; this set included the unsurpassed
noise guitarist Bill Nace (colleague of Thurston and the rest of the Northeast
wool-gathering clan) as well as the powerful and peculiar saxophonist Tamio
Shiraishi (onetime accomplice to Japanese guitar colossus Keiji Haino).
Vanzan looks across the floor, quietly says "Pronto" as if it weren't a command,
and the group breaks like a shot. It's impossible not to notice Genta first and
most—she goes right after it, tearing furiously at the sky in high registers,
chasing some celestial imperative that you can almost glimpse in her headlights.
She's self-taught, and you feel like she found her first language with her
instrument. Vanzan is redefining explosion from a single event to a state of
being; Nace claws nimbly but viciously at the guitar on his lap, torturing
strings with fingers and tools. Shiraishi, meanwhile, is laying back—literally,
behind the others, looking away, seeming detached, not playing. No matter: The
waves are shaking through the floor and into our bones. So how dramatic is it
when Shiraishi sweeps to the front and jumps in with both feet, totally
simpatico with the fire already raging! Man, the sound in this hot smelly room
The quartet keeps us pressed to the sky for ten minutes, no let up, until they
let up. Then a 20-minute piece, with shifting momentums and a lower-ebbing
tension, Genta loping from sax to clarinet to something Turkish-looking with a
reed, then to strings of bells, which she takes on a short walk. Shiraishi is
playing cat and mouse again; the resident cat is nowhere to be seen, which is
just as well, cause Nace is hammering on his strings with what looks like a
cat's food bowl. This group's energy is wild as hell but not chaotic; there's a
distinct order at work within their improvising. They bring it back up to a
pitch together and end it, certain finality as Vanzan is unscrewing cymbals
before the sound decays. The air comes to a halt again. Out out out."
(By Mike Wolf, Village Voice NYC, June
Jooklo Duo | Interview
Flying into New York City from Italy,
then driving up to the mountains and hiking around for a while isn’t a bad way
to kick-off a substantial Stateside tour. Maybe such a setting’s appropriate for
the visceral players comprising Jooklo
Virginia Genta and drummer David Vanzan. Nature’s not diametrically opposed to
extemporaneous jazz—each can be chaotic. A shoddy phone line connected Genta
with Time Out just as she emerged from the trail.
Time Out: Were you guys in psych bands before playing together? How different
was that than Jooklo Duo and how much of a set is improvised?
Virginia Genta: Before
we were playing jazz, we were playing really noisy stuff – the two of us were
psychedelic from the beginning. We’re playing as a duo now more than in the
past, because it’s so easy to travel. We can do whatever we want, playing with
local musicians in every country we go to. Playing together for almost ten
years, it’s kinda hard to improvise now. It’s more like instant composing.
TOC: It seems like you’ve been able to connect to the avant-garde in the States
pretty easily. What about European players – John Butcher types.
really with those kinda guys. That’s another generation, I think. European
improvisation – we’re outside of that. There are European musicians, who maybe
aren’t well known here, but we’re looking for great musicians – younger guys.
When we’re playing with somebody, we don’t care where they’re coming from—jazz,
rock. We’re concerned with the sound. We don’t have boundaries; we just need
players to make a connection with.
TOC: Jooklo Duo seems to connect less with spiritual concerns when compared to
players like Pharaoh Sanders or Coltrane.
is our thing we’re reaching for. The result can be the same—the same kind of
feeling. Music can still come to the same point and have the same power. It’s
2011, I was born in 1984. That’s a big difference. For me, I still feel close to
We were playing in San Francisco—it was pretty amazing, actually—Phil Musra,
whose been playing free since the seventies, came up to us after a show and
said, “You guys are keeping our tradition alive.” We’re just doing our small
part to create some good energy in the world.
TOC: How do audiences respond to your energy and the music? They probably don’t
isn’t even about entertainment anymore. We’ve been inspired so many times by so
many musicians, I think it’s important we give that same inspiration to other
people to spread it around, to create something. If you go back to before music
became entertainment, it could keep the community together. Improvisation, for
us, is our tool for uniting people. Of course, we’re not always successful. Our
playing can affect those who aren’t involved with music. It’s universal and
universal music can make people join together and do something good for the
(By Dave Cantor, Time Out Chicago, June 9th, 2011)
Jooklo Duo and Bill Nace in Pittsburgh
"I made it out to a show at Garfield Artworks
on Monday night. Manny brings in a lot of avant jazz folks that I've never heard
of and don't get a chance to see. So when I saw the flyer for the Jooklo Duo - a
man and woman from Italy - I made a mental note to check this show out. I had no
idea if they were the free jazz type of improv or noisy electronics kind of
improv. Regardless I was going to be there.
The opening act was a local fella who performs under the name Burnout Warcry. He
had a table full of instruments: a small keyboard, a chain that looked like line
used when fishing; a kazoo, bells, metal plates. He also had a suitcase that he
routinely kicked to fill the space that a kick drum would typically handle.He
played for about 20 minutes, all told: one longer piece, one shorter one. And he
used all the instruments to fill the space. Sometimes he looked like he wasn't
sure what to grab next, or how to continue the sound, but most of the time, he
seemed pretty assured. Most people would've thought he was just messing around
and that it was pointless, but he kept the sound going. The length of his set
was just enough.
Jooklo Duo were actually a trio that night because guitarist Bill Nace had
joined Virginia Genta (reeds and things) and David Vanzan (drums) for this tour.
Nace's guitar added a level of consistant drone to the set, but it could've come
down in the mix a little bit. As the set started, he was bowing the guitar and
Vanzan was gentle playing his kit. For the longest time, he didn't pound the
drums, which gave the drums a nice muted effect. It helped put the spotlight on
Genta, who began by blowing the double-reed horn the zorna, on which she used
circular breathing to keep her tone flowing. She picked up the clarinet, but
some of the nuances got lost in the swirl of guitar drone (he had it in his lap
the whole time) and drums, which by now were getting kind of loud.
When Genta picked up her tenor saxophone and started to blow, I wrote "Oh yeah,
now you're talking" in my notebook. The band was now firing on all four
cylinders. Her tenor playing was reminiscent of early Gato Barbieri, with a gush
of wild overtones. Sometimes it was hard to tell what was coming from her and
what was coming from Nace due to the volume and the echo from the room and
As the set moved on, the sound swelled more and more. Genta pulled out the jew's
harp, the one instrument that was hard to hear over everything else. But that boing was
in there somewhere. Vanzan, whose past-the-shoulders length hair and full beard,
together with his lanky frame made him look like some '70s prog rock dude,
whipped out a flute and started playing it into one of the drum mikes without
batting an eye. I don't think he looked at his trap kit once while he was
playing. Nace creating the sound of a beehive and later a leaky faucet, while
Genta moved to melodica, then cowbell and police whistle, to which she added
some vocal yells. Then after about 45 minutes, things died down and Vanzan let
fly a final thump across his drums. The kind that says "the end," and mean it. I
wasn't about to argue."
Shanley, Shanley On Music, June 16th, 2011)
Jooklo Duo live at The Rotunda in Philadelphia
Jooklo Duo are
a sax and drum team from Italy. They play free jazz and are LOUD. I walked in
out of the rain and met the two at the door actually. The sax player is female,
short, long hair, the drummer is very tall with beard and long hair as well. So
I got something of a psychedelic vibe from them, they asked me if I was a jazz
maniac and because I am I said yes. The sax playing was solid, she really knew
what she was doing and the drummer was making use of literally every part of his
drum kit. Very primitive, almost tribal. Stripped down jazz but so full of raw
energy, and relentless. Throughout the 45min set there was only one pause, not
even, for the audience to squeeze in applause. Most of us just sat there
enraptured. Other instruments they used included a flute, penny whistle, bells,
and several other ones I couldn’t recognize but reminded me of music class as a
kid. At one point they both left the stage and walked around creating a drone
like sound that went well with the acoustics of the room. I really enjoyed them
and they are definately doing a superb job of keeping free jazz contemporary and
exciting while still displaying technical adeptness and solid musical forms.
Definately check out their records or see them live.
(Robotic Reviews, May 20th, 2011)
Jooklo Duo is High
"Quick, name an Italian jazz ensemble. Yeah, I can’t
really do that either. Jooklo Duo, are set to do that, however. Why these folks
are different from your drummer friend who just put out a run of cassettes with
him improvising is pretty interesting. Instead of fitting a buncha junk into a
single improvisation – or song, surely, some parts of High were pre-figured –
the band’s saxophonist leans on what a note can do, when necessary. Granted,
there are various moments, “Pawa Now!” for example, that get pretty chatty. But
the ability to move in and out of that is what makes Jooklo Duo engaging.
How these folks made it over from Italy is still a mystery and they’re not
garnering a wealth of coverage here in the States. This summer, though, the duo
seems to be readying a national, Stateside tour. That’ll be interesting to
witness. And probably, bloody loud."
(Alternative Music Talk, April 6th, 2011)
Jooklo Duo "The Warrior"
Northern Spy 7"
"Boss Italian woodwinds/drum duo who skronk the big bulb of freedom as hard as
anyone. The overblowing is as insane as either of Borbetomagus’s lips-guys, so
it vibes like a collision between them and Flaherty/Corsano duo or something.
Raw, loose, jibbery.
(Byron Coley, The Wire, April 2011)
Jooklo Duo "The Warrior"
Northern Spy 7"
"Latest blast of blown out, super fierce and fiery free jazz pummel from this
Italian duo, whose last tour cd-r was
a huge hit around here, and whose surprisingly hushed and minimal instore was
pretty fantastic. But for those of you
who lucked out and snagged one of those cd-r’s or saw the duo perform live when
they were in SF, you know what you’re in for, two sides, two tracks brimming
with nonstop, relentless, frantic, frenetic, explosive super rhythmic, wildly
tangled and super psychedelic next level free jazz freakout. The drums never let
up, laying down a super textured avalanche of rhythmic shuffle and skitter and
pound, a non stop drum solo, that manages to be totally free, yet somehow
strangely rhythmic, but it’s the sax and clarinet, wielded by Virginia Genta,
that drives these jams, the sounds she gets out of her horns are inhuman, alien,
free jazz may skronk and squeal, but this stuff SHRIEKS and GRINDS and is just a
face peeling onslaught of strangled notes, atonal melodies and wild high end
squiggles. There are bits of extra percussion, some vocals, even a little blast
of harmonica (?), but this is definitely hardcore free jazz that will send
anyone with any sort of aversion to skronk and squeal and shriek running for the
hills. The rest of us can just revel in Jooklo Duo’s divine jazz chaos."
(Aquarius Records, San Francisco, March 2011)
Jooklo Duo "The Warrior"
Northern Spy 7"
Since 2004, this Italian two-piece has been sending the cats of the world
scurrying for cover thanks to the unholy
screeches torn from the stratosphere via Virgina Genta’s amazing freeform sax
playing. As she vamps, her musical
partner David Vanzan provides a rich, loamy bed of drum rumbles and quick shot
cymbal splashes. The latest effort by the Jooklos is this two track 7?
representing one of the first releases by the label Northern Spy Records, an
outfit staffed by former ESP-Disk employees. The appropriately named songs –
“Primitive Power” b/w “Fire Liberation” – use those titular ideas to blast out
some raw, heated noise that only lets up for brief breath-catching moments.
(Robert Ham, The Voice of Energy, February 8th, 2011)
Jooklo Duo "The Warrior"
Northern Spy 7"
"Jooklo Duo consists of reedist Virginia Genta and drummer David Vanzan, and
their work has appeared on a number of instantly-out-of-print LPs, cassettes and
CD-Rs that have captivated the New Weird Europa environment.
The Warrior is the first Jooklo-related material to be released on a US label
(the young Northern Spy Records is run by former ESP staff), and is supposedly
going to be followed with a full-length. That’s a good thing, because the pair
takes the screaming buzzsaw over-blowing of Duo Exchange (Rashied Ali-Frank
Lowe, Survival, 1973) as a starting point, reed-splitting tenor micro orgasms
slicing the air as fractured rhythmic brutishness stokes the flames on
“Primitive Power.” The flip continues at the same absurd pace, clattering
metallic polyrhythm supporting reedy vomit in both tenor and soprano variants,
as well as clarinet. Like Arthur Doyle, the reed instruments are channels for
expressive ferocity, and their precise nature seems unimportant beyond slight
refinements on extreme action. The Warrior plays at 33 rpm, extending by a
couple of minutes each slice of brain-scraping and smoke-clearing exorcism. Good
Ed. Note: Northern Spy honcho Adam Downey has informed me that the Jooklo single
is indeed a 45, though it has been sounding great at 33 rpm (the labels don't
specify). This reminds me of the scenario where a friend had Coltrane's Black
Pearls LP on 45 by accident and declared what a smokin' bebop record it was...
anyway, try it at both speeds if you dare!"
(By Clifford Allen, Ni Kantu, January 25th, 2011)
Jooklo Duo "The Warrior"
Northern Spy 7"
"The name Jooklo has graced several different projects of varying styles over
the past few years, but its core duo,
as represented on this 7-inch, consists of Virginia Genta on sax and clarinet,
and drummer David Vanzan.
This record comes to us from the Northern-Spy label, also home to releases by
The USA Is A Monster and Old Time Relijun, and certainly can be compared to the
chaos and abrasiveness of those bands, but instead of Load-style noise-rock or
Beefheartian avant-rock, this is pure, squonking free jazz .The record doesn’t
specify which speed it’s meant to be played at, but all indications point to 45.
It’s brutal enough at 33, but it’s absolutely scorching at 45. “Primitive Power”
on side A is three nonstop minutes of fury; “Fire Liberation” goes on for a few
longer, and has a slight break in the middle, but only for a few moments. Both
sides are guaranteed to wake anyone up at any hour of the day or night when
played at maximum volume."
(Paul Simpson, Foxy Digitalis, January 10th, 2011)
was pretty excited when I had the opportunity book the tenor sax/drums band Jooklo
a live session at WFMU. I've been a fan of their excellent Qbico releases and
while together and separately Virginia Genta and David Vanzan have collaborated
with many radical free jazz players working today, they seem a bit under the
radar for how visceral and intense an experience they deliver. That might be
partly from living in the Italian countryside where they're free to develop
their raw and constantly searching musical methodology away from sucker
influences of the urban elite. If the throw-back version of scree seems
outdated to some free music fans, it's their loss; the holy ghosts of ESP-Disk'
and BYG/Actuel live in Jooklo's sound, style, and unrepentant forward thrust, a
stop-and-you-may-die kind of spiritual commitment to this music and lifestyle.
Don Cherry's '70s global wanderings and Taj Mahal Travellers' zoned benevolence
may be more appropriate touchpoints to Jooklo Duo, who are open to unruly and
authentic musical experiences wherever they happen to occur and in whatever
Virginia asked if we had a piano in WFMU's studio, I wasn't sure what to expect,
but was pleasantly surprised when they brought John Blum along for the tussle.
John has released records on Ecstatic Peace, Eremite and the German label
Konnex, and played extensively with heavyweights like Milford Graves, Bill
Dixon, William Parker, Sunny Murray and Denis Charles. I expected a physical
approach to the keyboard but did not anticipate the full history of jazz
influences in his playing. I heard the likes Cecil Taylor and Muhal Richard
Abrams, yes, but also Jaki Byard (a personal fave) and even all the way back to
Art Tatum, Jelly Roll Morton and James P. Johnson (I swear, listen for the
stride!). This was the first time these three played together, which was a
surprise to learn. I asked Virginia about the origin of her tenor sound, tough
and upfront, but also melodic and unpredictable. She was reluctant to name her
favorite sax players. No matter, the playing on this session speaks volumes.
Please enjoy!" (By Scott Mc Dowell,
WFMU radio, April 27th, 2010)