Slivovitz – Hubris

Let me start this review simply by letting all of you non-Balkan peoples know that Slivovitz is a plumb brandy. As soon as you taste it you will love it forever, just don’t drink too much!. If you think that this reviewer writes this while drunk on brandy, you’re wrong, and shall be sued for libel. But if you think that this reviewer is under the effects of a Neapolitan band who shares a name with this popular brandy, in that case you are completely right.

Slivovitz is a 7-piece band coming out from Naples, Italy with wide musical influences ranging from Balkan ethno motifs, a mixture of Canterbury and Frank Zappa jazz rock with the addition of John Zorn’s insanity. But it doesn’t stop, there are plenty of musical elements gathered up from all around the world. The originality that permiates every second of this 70 minute long achievement show that the guys in Slivovitz have a great deal of skill.  I feel that Hubris is the type of album that you would never  be able to truly label, which speaks a great deal about its quality. Combining elements of Latin music, Rock Progressivo Italiano, funk, African rhythms, Eastern-European folk, reggae, even pop with the aforementioned jazz-rock-fusion base all make Slivovitz a serious “treat” to the bands/artists which are of the same/similar orientation.

The first thing that comes into sight is the musicianship. You can’t never know which of the Slivovitz band members will take a leading role. All you can do is to express the overloading exaltation to Pietro Santangelo’s saxophon-ing in the opening: Zorn A Surriento, which is an homage to aforementioned John Zorn. Caldo Bagno brings African motives into the game with guest appearance of Giovanni Imparato who has lent his vocal and percussive abilities. Mangiare is the first track on Hubris where you come face to face with Zappaesque-jazz rock, which features Marco Pezzenati’s vibraphones and relaxing saxwork. Errore di Parallasse pushes forth accordion and saxophone, but I must praise the rhythm section on this piece as, in my opinion, they are the most interesting part of the track. The second half of this song is totally dominated by violin soloing a la Jean-Luc Ponty. Ne Carne and Ne Pesce are the only pieces that create the impression of being straight jazz, Ne Carne being totally dominated by saxophone and Ne Pesce by drums. Dammi Un Besh O is a characteristic piece with Balkan-Gypsy folk music, pretty  energetic. It’s one of those that will make you jump and start doing some kind of… well, dancing. If you recall, I wrote above that Hubris also consists of pop moments. Well, there are few of them in CO2, it’s gained with the acoustic guitar of another guest musician: Ugo Santangelo and saxophone work that goes in that direction. Sono Tranquillo Eppure Spesso Strillo – STRESS brings up a combination of funk and jazz fusion. Last three tracks on the album have been recorded in 2004 and included on their debut called Slivovitz, and been remastered for Hubris. As a liner notes the band has stated:

100% made in Napoli (with a lot of caffe espresso and a lot of slivovitz!)”

If you would love to “taste” something good, then try Slivovitz. Just it’s upon you which one you are going to check out. My recommendation is that you listen to Hubris while drinking the brandy.


01. Zorn a Surriento

02. Caldo Bagno

03. Mangiare

04. Errore di Parallasse

05. Ne Carme

06. Ne Pesce

07. Dammi Un Besh O

08. CO2

09. Sono Tranquillo Eppure Spesso Strillo

10. Canguri in 5 *

11. Tilde *

12. Sig. M Rapito Dal Vento *

* remastered


Domenico Angarano – electric bass, fretless bass

Stefano Constanzo – drums and percussions

Marcello Giannini – electric guitar, acoustic guitar

Ludovica Manzo – vocals

Derek Di Perri – harmonica

Pietro Santangelo – alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, vocals

Riccardo Villari – violin

with guests:

Giovanni Imparato – bata, percussions and vocals (Caldo Bagno)

Marco Pezzenati – vibraphone (Mangiare)

Ugo Santangelo – acoustic guitar (CO2)


Nikola Savić is a prog enthusiast, blogger and author, in addition to being the founder of Prog Sphere, Progify, ProgLyrics and the ongoing Progstravaganza compilation series.
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