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Baker's Dozen

Speaking Rhythms: Valentina Magaletti’s Baker’s Dozen
Jennifer Lucy Allan , March 31st, 2021 09:57

Prolific drummer and collaborator Valentina Magaletti marks the release of Tomaga's finest album by telling Jennifer Lucy Allan about her favourite 13 albums, from The Cure to Miles Davis, Art Blakey, and Can to Deerhoof, This Heat and the Art Ensemble Of Chicago. Photo by Adele di Nunzio


The Art Ensemble Of Chicago – People In Sorrow
This was my introduction to a more Afro-centric avant-garde, which when I was young, I really thought was just a kind of European thing. I was touring in the States and was in St Louis, and me and the singer from the band I was touring with were record shopping – I was always obsessed with finding weird stuff, so I asked for the avant-garde section in this record shop in St Louis. I'll never forget the guy saying to me ‘Girl, for that kind of stuff you’ve gotta go to Europe! People are lucky enough here to grab a guitar and get to the other side of the Mississippi!’ And I felt so stupid, but then all of a sudden this Art Ensemble treasure shows up, and it's so out there. It's not strictly jazz it's not strictly free, it's so punk as well. They tell me stories that my mind can wander within, and that's always what I’m after when I’m listening to something. I just want to go places. That's what Art Ensemble do. 

When I started hearing The Art Ensemble I was very young, and I know exactly who I have to thank for it – a DJ from where I am now in Southern Italy – Nicola Conte. He also makes records for Schema records, had a record for Blue Note, is a favourite of Gilles Peterson and all of that scene. In the mid 90s I had a sextet, playing bebop and soul jazz and I remember him giving me loads of tapes with music on like Letta Mbulu’s ‘What's Wrong With Grooving’ and I was blown away. Since then I started getting into jazz records, and since then I’m not a free woman, because there's so much to it – it's endless and beautiful.