Skin Against Metal

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Skin Against Metal was founded by Maurice (pianist) and Nanette (percussionist/vocalist) in 2005. However, the history of the duo goes back to the mid 80s when Maurice immigrated to New York from his Native Milan, Italy to study at the Juilliard School of Music and met Nanette, a native of Bronx, N. Y. They began their partnership by composing for ensembles they formed, working the New York Jazz scene and touring Europe. During the same years the composers explored the dance world and in 1989 had a hit with their record In the Heat of the Night (Prelude), followed by Step into My World in 1990 (Melantone). In 1991, the duo returned to their Latin Jazz roots, and recorded the album Girotondo featuring New York rock-jazz players Scott Luna (drums) and Jimmy Pinetti (guitar). In addition to a heavy performance schedule to promote the album, the 90s kept Maurice busy in his recording studio producing diverse artists, while Nanette continued to dedicate herself to the study of the Afro-Cuban drumming tradition with master conga player Frankie Malabe and master bata drummer from Matanzas, Cuba, Felipe Garcia Villamil. The years of intense study coupled with field work in Cuba, culminated in the instructional book: The Sacred Music of Cuba: Bata Drumming Matanzas Style, published in 2000 by Melantone, NY. The new decade continued with yet another turn with the writing and producing of three multi-media theatre pieces which created the opportunity for Nanette and Maurice to bring together and perform with other emerging experimental artists in a new context. All three theatre pieces were funded by a Westchester Arts Alive grant and premiered at prestigious venues such as The Northern Westchester Center for the Arts, Mt. Kisco NY. All of these experiences were important stepping stones in the development of their techno-tribal rock jazz-modern classical style. Their 2005 CD release Alchemy: A Tribute to Frankie Malabe is a clear example of the composers’ seasoned ability to seamlessly combine influences, layer complex rhythms to produce a certain drive, and blend sounds for specific textures and effects. Bruce Polen of Descarga Music said: ‘this is an enchanted hybrid of influences that merge to form an atmospheric piece that might be mistaken for a movie score’.

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