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Moto Perpetuo Drummer Anthony Taddeo’s Next Project: Recording Alla Boara Live

Alla Boara


If drummer Anthony Taddeo were a piece of music, he’d be marked Allegro vivace con brio é giocoso. Here’s a bit more Italian to represent the bilingual Taddeo: preso dalla testa ai piedi, an idiom for being in constant motion from head to toe.

This weekend finds the  in-demand sideman, dependable session musician and busy bandleader in the familiar setting of Hingetown’s Bop Stop with his Alla Boara project for a two-night engagement that will be recorded for audio and video release.

The live recording is a milestone for the band, a beguiling fritto misto of ancient Italian folk melodies lightly seasoned with jazz improvisation, which blossomed out of a research project into field recordings Taddeo pursued when he was a student at New York’s New School.

“We started playing gigs and people were feeling connected to this music in a way that I just would not have expected,” he said in a phone interview. “People that come to the show have no idea what the songs are saying, but they feel connected to the music and that’s what’s propelled us all. It’s still fun. It still is giving me joy.”

Anthony TaddeoThe ability of music to bring people together was Taddeo’s primary motivation to document an Alla Boara live set. “I’m big on community, so I wanted to create this element of the recording that allowed people to be a part of it, that allowed it to be more immersive [and] more communal,” he said. “I think that if you’re going to make a recording of any kind these days, there just has to be more to it.”

For the follow-up to Alla Boara’s debut recording, Le Tre Sorelle, (my review for All About Jazz is here), the additional element is an audience, which will surround the band, both on the stage and at Bop Stop’s bar level.

This creates some challenges for engineer Tuck Mindrum. “The hardest thing is getting the quietest thing in the room, which is the vocalist [Amanda Powell], to be the loudest thing in the recording,” said Mindrum, who with David Kennedy form the engineering team.

The recording will document a repertoire that continues to mine the trove of field recordings made in Italy in 1954 by folklorist Alan Lomax. A new piece, “Adoremus” incorporates a field recording of a priest chanting in a reverberent old church. “One of my friends, who’s an Italian, listened to the recording and mentioned that it’s not completely [in] Latin,” Taddeo said. That sparked an idea. “I thought about an old church meeting [and] a more modern church and so we’ve got some gospel influence in there. At the end, Amanda sings everything the priest just sang on that field recording, but in English.”

Making connections between ancient and modern, between the Old World and the New, between band and audiences, is what keeps the Anthony Taddeo moto perpetuo machine running.

The success of Alla Boara has nibbled away at Taddeo’s thriving career as a sideman. “I had to be a little bit more particular about what I throw out there, but I’ve had some really great gigs lately with Bobby Selvaggio, Lucas Kadish and Kevin Martinez.” And Taddeo just completed a recording with Martinez that he’s excited about, excitement being the ebullient Taddeo’s default setting.

But the present moment belongs, dalla testa ai piedi, to Alla Boara, which on the recording will comprise, in addition to Powell, guitarist Dan Bruce, accordionist Clay Colley, Ian Kinnaman on bass and on trumpet Tommy Lehman, a musician whose gig calendar rivals Taddeo’s. Chris Coles, Jamey Haddad and Patrick Graney will join the festa as special guests.

Following a successful tour of the Midwest that included a high-profile and well-received concert at Chicago’s fabled Old Town School of Folk Music, Taddeo’s ambition is expansive. The band will make its a crucial New York debut this fall and Europe beckons. Imagine the reception Alla Boara would receive in Italy.

Everywhere they go, the ragazzi é ragazza of Alla Boara make friends, and that’s just how Anthony Taddeo likes it. “You know, I practice, I compose, I push myself to be a better artist daily because I know that it leads to deeper relationships and sharing life with people in a really special way,” Taddeo said. “I just love it.”

From head to toe.

Alla Boara Friday, July 7 and Saturday, July 8, 8 p.m. at BOP STOP, 2920 Detroit Ave. Cleveland, $25, available here (Friday) and here (Saturday).


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