Songlines 2022 Fusion Award Winner: Justin Adams & Mauro Durante: Still Moving on Ponderosa Music

Justin Adams has long been an adventurous serial collaborator, but his album with Mauro Durante – leader of Italy’s premier pizzica band Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino, who won the Songlines Music Award for Best Group in 2018 – ranks among his finest achievements. The meeting point for the musicians was a fascination with trance rhythms and their common role in otherwise radically different musical traditions.

Adams’ guitar prowess is well known, but what surprises here is the emotional power of his deep, bluesy voice with Durante’s higher tones offering a potent foil. Durante conjures thundering rhythms out of a simple frame drum while the pair execute a series of fiddle/electric guitar duets that are alternately fiery and filigree. Desert blues guitar combines with Maghreb chants, transported across the Med to the heel of southern Italy. On Still Moving (a Top of the World in the November 2021 issue, #172) there are traditional work songs and an old Carter Family number, as well as original tunes on which the duo create a heady Mississippi-to-Mediterranean blues trance with influences as diverse as garage rock and avant-garde contemporary classical thrown into the cross-cultural stew.

Read the full album review.