Swiss drummer Charly Antolini has been a force in European mainstream jazz for over half a century, a super-technician often compared with Buddy Rich and Louis Bellson. Beginning his professional career playing in Paris with such New Orleans legends as Sidney Bechet and Albert Nicholas, he graduated to swing and bop, working with Benny Goodman, Earl Hines, Jimmy Guiffre, and Art Farmer, among others. Antolini is best known for his own all-star ensembles.
In the Groove
This 1972 album shows Antolini coming into his own as a leader, as he organizes a ten-man ensemble of outstanding European musicians. Jesus Christ Superstar begins with an atmospheric choral horn entry, followed by funky horn riffs trading with explosive drum exclamations on into an apocalyptic Antolini solo and back to a broiling funk feel. Handicraft builds its jazzy funk around Antolini’s quicksilver play interspersed with some hip organ lines. Punching Ball is a straight-ahead jazz gem with swinging horn solos and punchy horn backings. With its mariachi feel played over a funk riff, Gringo Domingo tastes of tequilas while relaxing under a hot Mexican sun. Scratches is a bluesy hard-driving piece of pure funk with a soulful sax solo and Antolini struttin’ his stuff. Y Luego begins with a luxurious balladic flute-guitar duo before dancing into a lively Afro-Cuban groove. Skinny pulsates with a pop-rock sound and a classic Antolini solo. Gemma Ham has Antolini in the groove as he brings the band back home