AVA Trio

Dutch.injazz at jazzahead!
Friday 28 april, 21:15, Messe Bremen, Hall 7.1

After meeting at the Netherlands’ most northern conservatoire in Groningen in 2015, Giuseppe Doronzo (IT) and Esat Ekincioglu (TK) formed AVA Trio, with Pino Basile (IT) joining in 2017. Ever since, they have been touring extensively, proving themselves as erudite and virtuosic guides, navigating through rich and diverse sonic surroundings. All three members have more projects going, from border-crossing band KUHN FU to scoring music for film, but AVA Trio is as steady as a free, genre-bending outfit trio can be. We asked Esat some questions on their work and their connection to Groningen.

AVA Trio at jazzahead!

AVA Trio just released Ash on Tora Records, which contains two long, new pieces. KrautNick Magazin in Germany reviewed it with the intriguing remark: “It’s like listening to an audiobook without text.” Also, your baritone sax player Giuseppe Doronzo has won a Buma Music in Media Award for Best original composition, for the music he wrote for the short film GOYA by director Roman Ermolaev. What is it with storytelling and you guys?

“AVA Trio has been playing stories about the Mediterranean basin and its people, secluded natural places and nostalgic memories since 2015. Associating our music with personal memories, imaginary events and images, and special locations, brings the listeners directly into the scene, and allows us to further develop the direction of improvisation. Giuseppe has been writing music for this project with the idea of stretching and combining two concepts: near-east traditional approach through the Makam system with an emphasis on Turkish music, and experimentation through European avant-garde idioms. It’s a complex yet exciting concept. I see it as an adventure, made possible thanks to Pino’s knowledge of the frame drums of the Mediterranean basin, Giuseppe’s microtonal approach to the baritone saxophone, and, if I may say so, my unique approach to the bass. And of course our cultural backgrounds!

Listen to the album Ash on Spotify

“A different side of the band, now an integral part of our storytelling, is keeping the balance between composition and improvisation. As if AVA Trio is in a stream of consciousness flow. The music we recorded in complete improvisation for our last release, the EP Ash, evoked in us images of the long lost cities that once were inhabited by people, their daily lives and memories. We wanted to further transfer this to the listener.”

“We will play at jazzahead! as liberated as we play at a cosy cafe concert or in our creative studio sessions.”


Is playing a showcase more challenging than playing a regular concert? Does the time limit bother you, given that improvisation is such a driving force in your music?

“We have played at inJazz before and also had many concerts with shorter sets, so the time limitation doesn’t bother us. Our plan is to keep the repertoire short, probably playing three tunes, allowing space for the improvisations to develop and flourish. However, as we previously – pre-corona – experienced, the importance of the event and ‘higher stakes’ may create a bit more stress and stiffness. After the pandemic break of 1.5 years, our attitude and how we perform with the band has taken a turn for the better; we are much more care-free and adventurous with our music. We will play at jazzahead! as liberated as we play at a cosy cafe concert or in our creative studio sessions.”

Please explain the Groningen scene to the jazz friends outside of the Netherlands.

“Groningen is a breeding ground for creativity. ZomerJazzFietsTour, which takes place in the Groningen countryside, is one of the best creative music festivals on the globe, and their organiser and programmer Marcel Roelofs has always been supportive and on the lookout for new musicians emerging in the city and on the (inter)national scene. Besides that, Prins Claus Conservatorium, where Giuseppe and I met and started the AVA Trio, has been central in providing top notch artists to the global scene. I’m thinking of alumni like Marta Warelis, George Dimitriu, Kaja Draksler, Kristian Krajcan, Sanem Kalfa, Tarek Yamani, to name a few. and heavily touring bands such as AVA Trio or KUHN FU. The venue Atelier il Sole in Cantina closed in 2020 but reopened last year, as a very productive stage for all the aforementioned musicians to create and present new and daring music. Biggest downside of my city is that Groningen is a stepping stone for most: I’m one of the few insisting on staying here.”

AVA Trio

  • Giuseppe Doronzo – baritone saxophone, mizmar, hulus, sola
  • Esat Ekincioglu – double bass
  • Pino Basile – frame drums and other percussion


Practical information