On-Demand: Paolo Angeli
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Paolo Angeli

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On-Demand: Paolo Angeli

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originally filmed on JAN 26, 2023

Video On-Demand Playlist, Curated by SFJAZZ Staff

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Paolo Angeli

Sardinian guitarist and composer Paolo Angeli performs with his 18-string invented instrument combining elements of guitar, cello, and drums, while blending together flamenco, jazz, Baroque, and experimental post-rock.

Angeli's playing is deftly virtuosic.

Guitarist Paulo Angeli is a musical conjurer, an artist whose imaginative leaps defy gravity. A composer, ethnomusicologist and instrument builder who draws on his deep knowledge of traditional Sardinian music, he inhabits a timeless zone as a soil-rooted master and brash experimentalist. While suffused with Mediterranean cadences, Angeli’s original pieces encompass flamenco, jazz, Baroque, post-rock and new music. He plays a prepared Sardinian guitar of his own invention, a fantastical 18-string hybrid combining elements of guitar, cello and drums.

A feast for the eyes as well as the ears, Angeli in full flight is an astounding sight, as he bows, strikes, hammers, plucks and strums an instrument with strings going in all directions and foot-pedal-controlled motorized propellers. With sympathetic strings creating shimmering drones, he adjusts tunings on the fly to create exquisitely lapidary, orchestral music using electronic effects in real time (he eschews loopers, creating every sound in the moment).

It’s not surprising that this singular musician has improvised and collaborated with masters such as Pat Metheny, Fred Frith, Evan Parker, Zeena Parkins, and Phillip Greenlief. Angeli’s music may be unclassifiable, but it takes no expertise to recognize its strange and extravagant beauty.

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