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The Strato Ensemble | Drawn Straws

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Pat Metheny Pink Floyd Tortoise

Album Links
Fateless Music Apple iTunes

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United States - California - LA

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Jazz: Modern Creative Jazz Jazz: Jazz Fusion Moods: Mood: Dreamy
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Drawn Straws

by The Strato Ensemble

Climactic, atmospheric, electric, lush, improvised, technical, ambient Jazz and it's many ghosts.
Genre: Jazz: Modern Creative Jazz
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Empowering gamesake
24:05 $0.99
2. Thou dire lull
4:00 $0.99
3. The motion of you
17:47 $0.99
4. Trenches
4:12 $0.99
5. Finding 7.4 corners
3:28 $0.99
6. Galaxing
4:35 $0.99
7. A thorough season
4:11 $0.99
8. On thundering sky larkers likeness
9:31 $0.99
9. Higher loosing
7:56 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
In the fall of 2003, Dean De Benedictis, a former keyboardist for Brand X yet better known for his electronic music as alias Surface 10, contacted fellow recording artists Giuseppe Patane (bass player from rock band Maata Haari), Andrea "Jako" Giacomini (drum player from rock band Socadia), and Takeshi Nishimoto (guitar player from progressive jazz duo I'm Not A Gun) to start a project. The intention of this project was to keep their chops up and keep their sense of progressive-jazz roots in tact. The result was an LA-based, improvisational-jazz ensemble yielding an alternative/progressive sound tenuously compared to that of Tortoise, Pat Metheny, Ozric Tentacles, and ECM jazz artists from the 70's and 80's. Fateless Music Records has compiled the ensemble's best jam sessions as a CDR release for 2007 called "Drawn Straws."


For more audio downloads of unreleased Strato Ensemble material, visit:

Dean De Benedictis - keyboardist, programmer, producer
Andrea "Jako" Giacomini - drummer
Takeshi Nishimoto - guitar player
Giuseppe Patane - bass player

TO THE LISTENER - From late 2003 to late 2004, myself, Dean De Benedictis, along with music colleagues Andrea Giacomini, Takeshi Nishimoto and Giuseppe Patane, banded together to record scattered sessions for a project based on the principal of liberation through improvisational flow. Rather then take the same, atonal, sparsely-punctuated path into experimental jazz, so thoroughly explored and exploited through the generations, we decided to indulge our genuine interest in a modal approach so as to allow for extra-aesthetic qualities such as mood, expanse, and build.

Our reflection on The Strato Ensemble was of the position that it is best categorized when seen as having carried on in the tradition of electric jazz musicians who so eloquently explored this modal realm throughout the 70’s and early 80’s (although we still condone such concepts as listener interpretation and progressive-mindedness on the part of the composer).

Some of our pieces were marathons of length, edited down a fraction, which also pays a virtually-intended homage to the tradition of this genre, and all the better that it parade how they are indeed pieces as apposed to being seen as songs of any kind. Also, amidst the spirit of experimentation, the ensemble carried out creative impulses that could easily be interpreted by the listener as audio dropouts or blemishes, to which we affirm, with utmost confidence, were ninety-nine percent intentional.

We do hope that, regardless of any individual’s possible tastes or preconceptions, the soul of the ensemble’s unrefined intentions communicates outwardly, clearly and gracefully. -Dean De Benedictis



to write a review

Josh B. and RadioIndy.com

Excellent jazz/fusion CD. Pick up a copy today!
On "Drawn Straws", The Strato Ensemble pieces together an electrifying album full of surprise and intrigue. This jazz improvisational group has an excellent sense of rhythm, melody, and spontaneity. The Strato Ensemble did an excellent job of achieving a well balanced jazz album with a unique flavor that is created by including many interesting electronic sounds. The musicianship on the CD is particularly impressive, especially the piano and keyboard work. On "Thou Dire Lull," the track is accompanied by an awesome piano piece sure to elevate the ears of any jazz lover. If you like Weather Report then you will love The Strato Ensemble. Don't miss out, get your copy today!

John Book, Music For America

A phenomenal album that needs to be heard. Now.
The members of The Strato Ensemble were involved in various groups and projects before they decided to come together for one common cause: liberation through improvisational flow. Takeshi Nishimoto (electric guitar), Jako Giacomini (drums), Dean De Benedictis (keyboards), and Giuseppe Patane (bass) could easily play traditional jazz, or become an avant garde group, but considering that their previous groups were very different from each other, they had to create something different for this.

They went into the studio, and hours of jam sessions resulted in the music that is Drawn Straws (Fateless Music). The title of the CD tells about the different mixtures on the album in terms of who plays what. A few of the songs feature all of the musicians playing, while the next song could be two or three members. Regardless of the combination of musicians in each song, each of them show what they are capable of doing with each other, and what the listener gets to hear is the kind of jazz that takes in a wide range of different styles and atmopherics. There are moments which may sound like a Portishead outtakes, while other moments may bring to mind late 70's-era Weather Report. The group cite Tortoise and ECM albums from the 70's and 80's as an influence, and you can hear this, but in terms of different sound textures and ambience, they are along the lines of what Norway's Supersilent have done throughout their career, and also touch on the repetition and spontaneity heard in the music by Australia's The Necks. The Strato Ensemble take on that same approach but in a jazz setting, where they will go into it and just play, letting things happen, but in that process they end up creating songs that take the listener on a level of... well, if you've ever been on that higher level, it's just the level above that. Nishimoto's guitar work is in fine form, and in "Trenches" and "Galaxing", featuring Benedictis and Giacomini as a duo, you feel as if you're meditating with genius.

Drawn Straws is 9 songs clocking in just under 80 minutes, with the first track running for 24 minutes, it isn't music for short attention spans. It is music for those who want to be taken on a journey. As for these four, they should take this music around the world and come back with an even wider palette to choose from. A remarkable debut album.

Sok PuP

Blended bended and intented
The shape of all unshaped atmosphereic cohesion molds mysterious metaphysical transductions illuminated by mood lamps of internal nuance.

Doug Ferguson

Drawn Straws
I pretty much can only listen to this album from now on. Kind of sucks because I have so many other CDs that want to be played...
I was listening to this album on the bus this morning and I discovered, thanks to the audio intimacy of headphones, that this is a proficiently crafted and highly engaging masterwork that has actually blown me away. I haven't been this impressed with an album in a long time.
It's fluid songwriting laced with subtle intricacies had to be improvised to be as genuine and raw as they are. The Strato Ensemble's music prowess is intimidating. I still can't comprehend how they made a 24 minute long song where I'm still wanting more at the end. Seriously, it never gets tedious.
I am now a fan. I want more.