Born 1984 in Italy, Virginia Genta is self-taught and plays all saxophones (tenor, soprano, baritone, alto), flutes, clarinet, plus some percussion and keyboards. Since 2003 she's been working with drummer and percussionist David Vanzan in several projects such as Jooklo Duo, Neokarma Jooklo Trio (or Sextet, Octet, Experience), Golden Jooklo Age, and the Jooklo Finnish Quartet. She started playing music from improvisation while quite young, and has always been moving in the music cosmos with a deep, natural and spontaneous approach to creation, constantly working to find the highest way of expression connected to the oneness of universe. Besides this, the devotion of Virginia finds freedom also through drawings and illustrations. A restless activity during the past few years (about 400 concerts and a countless amount of recording sessions, some of those released on labels like Qbico, Conspiracy, and her own Troglosound), brought her to collaborations with musicians like Chris Corsano, Paul Flaherty, Bill Nace, Sonny Simmons, Daniel Carter, Sabir Mateen, John Blum, John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin), Takehisa Kosugi (Taj Mahal Travellers), Sonic Youth, Hartmut Geerken, Famodou Don Moye, Makoto Kawabata, Andrew Barker, Muruga Booker, Raymond Strid, among others. She's also a music collaborator of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company.
"It's impossible not to notice Genta first and most—she goes right after it, tearing furiously at the sky in high registers, chasing some celestial imperative that you can almost glimpse in her headlights. She's self-taught, and you feel like she found her first language with her instrument."
Posted on The Village Voice, June 2011, by Mike Wolf
“Not since Albert Ayler stalked the hamnar of Stockholm and reverberated his fire music off the walls of LES tenements has there been an avant-garde jazz saxophonist who can all out wail like Virginia Genta can. Don’t let her calm presence fool you. Nor should David Vanzan’s taller stature lead to believe this is not an equal opportunity free jazz freak-out. From when their poles first were converged by the Cosmic Force in 1999, Italy’s (with Finnish godparents) Jooklo Duo has been winning hearts and brains worldwide through jaw-dropping performances and a series of limited edition releases keeping at bay ravenous fans only long enough to get to the next gig. Now, for their first U.S. release, Northern-Spy Records launches its own assault on an as yet unsuspecting public with the 7”,
" The Warrior". Recorded October 11th, 2010, at Troglosound Home Studio, it’s as compact and complex as a leather-bound book of esoterica ready to haul you off to the most hidden lands of universal energy. The kids are gonna love
Posted on November 2010 - Adam Downey (Northern-Spy)
“I was pretty excited when I had the opportunity to book the tenor sax/drums band Jooklo Duo for a live session at WFMU. I've been a fan of their excellent Qbico releases and while together and separately Virginia Genta and David Vanzan have collaborated with many radical free jazz players working today, they seem a bit under the radar for how visceral and intense an experience they deliver. That might be partly from living in the Italian countryside where they're free to develop their raw and constantly searching musical methodology away from sucker influences of the urban elite. If the throw-back version of scree seems outdated to some free music fans, it's their loss; the holy ghosts of ESP-Disk' and BYG/Actuel live in Jooklo's sound, style, and unrepentant forward thrust, a stop-and-you-may-die kind of spiritual commitment to this music and lifestyle. Don Cherry's '70s global wanderings and Taj Mahal Travellers' zoned benevolence may be more appropriate touchpoints to Jooklo Duo, who are open to unruly and authentic musical experiences wherever they happen to occur and in whatever context.”
Posted on April 27, 2010 - Scott McDowell (WFMU radio)
"It was them! What the hell. Stripey shirt is Virginia Genta, and she is an earthy intergalactic badass of effectively limitless power. She wasted no time and went right at the fabric, tearing huge swaths of truth from the sky with her tenor, ripping, rending, turning gold into wine and wine into bread and roses. Incredible power — pierced, pinched tones blasting forth in a spectrum of color tones so far above where we live and work and wrestle the daily pain. She was tearing down sky-castles and replacing them with affordable sky-housing for the people. He is David Vanzan on drums, and he is right there with his pal, driving hard, more linear than we often get in Fire Music and refreshing at
Posted on April 16, 2010 - (Lazy Comet)
JOOKLO DUO - "High" (Troglosound 029) "So for those of you, like us, who are relatively new to the magic of the Jooklo Duo, are the Italian duo of Virginia Genta on sax, flute and voice, and David Vanzan on drums and percussion, they're sort of free jazz, but also just sort of spaced out avant improv, as at home jamming with Burnt Hills or No Neck as they are on a jazz bill, maybe more so. They incorporate all sort of haunting vocals and chants, into their constantly shifting skittery improvised mystical sound explorations. Eastern melodies, Gamelan sounds, it's free, and improvised, but also mystical, occultic, spiritual, the sound of revolutionary sixties free music, channeled through the spirit of today.
On High, the duo are on fire, maybe one of their most intense recordings ever, the sax is blown out, in the red, fierce and fiery, the drums, wild and octopoidal, the two instruments, dancing around each other, frenzied and frantic, and about as heavy as free music gets, they're heavily influenced by Coltrane and Ayler and Cherry and Coleman, and it's easy to hear that on High, it's like post post POST bop, the sax is a lethal weapon, the drums laying down suppressive fire, a totally transcendent, epic, mind blowing, next level, free jazz blowout. WAY recommended, as are the upcoming shows."
Posted on April 2010 - (Aquarius Records)
VIRGINIA GENTA/ANDREW BARKER -
"Pressure" (Troglosound 027) "Featuring Virginia Genta on tenor sax and Andrew Barker on drums. Ms. Genta is a member of the
Neokarma Collective (Qbico recording artists) and Andrew Barker plays with Gold Sparkle & William Parker's Little Huey Creative Music Orchestra.
Word is that the Neokarma Trio & Octet have produced some of the most out-of-this-world sounds that have emerged from Italy in recent years. Hence, I was intrigued to hear this collaboration with NeoKarma's tenor saxist and Gold Sparkle's Andrew Barker on drums. Listening to it right now (rather loudly), all I can say is "Holy sh*t!", this is way over-the-top! Both players are in strong form here with some sand-blasting tenor sax and all-powerful free/jazz drumming. In a blindfold test I get the feeling that most would call this sound no doubt made by free/jazz legends of yesteryear. This music is tight, explosive, intense and well-played. Ms. Genta screams like a crazed siren, twisting those notes inside-out and upside-down. Mr. Barker also at his best, feisty, powerful and on fire! Too much!
This is some of the best, most spirited free/music I've heard since I used to catch the Charle Gayle Trio play every Monday night at the old Knit with just Irving & Stephanie Stone, Steve Dalachinsky & Yuko and me in attendance".
Posted August 7, 2009 - Bruce Lee Gallanter (Downtown Music Gallery)
"My second and last Wire magazine WXXV event, this time at free-improv bastion, the Red Rose… Kicking off: a set by, support act, Italian Jooklo Duo,Virginia Genta on fiery, tumbling tenor sax, and David Vanzan on free, astral, scattering drums; a really crude outlook, but cool sound.
Vanzan with that beautiful floating shimmering hi-hat like Rashied Ali off Isis and Osiris.
Genta more noisy but perfect, with deep roots to the avant-garde of the 1960s."
Posted on November 22, 2007 - (Off Minor Musings of a Jazz geek)