Sunday, June 10, 2007

Giovanni Guidi - Indian Summer (CamJazz, 2007) ****

Once in a while mainstream piano ensembles deliver albums of a stupefying beauty, such as "If" by Myriam Alter, "Le Pas Du Chat Noir" by Anouar Brahem or "L'Arbre Pleure" by Nathalie Loriers. This album belongs to the same category : a chamber music atmosphere, strong melodies, tight compositions, musical tension and variation through smart arrangements, emotional depth, and all this without any pretense. This is music which Americans would call European jazz, but without the often heavy-handed ECM approach. I do not usually like jazz that doesn't leave the beaten track, but the aesthetics on this album easily overcome this. Guidi is creative enough with lots of ideas to bring a fresh performance for these strong compositions, even if they are covers of for instance Ornette Coleman's "Round Trip". Guidi is accompanied by Dan Kinzelman on clarinet and sax, Francesco Ponticelli on bass and Joao Lobo on drums. The music is sometimes visually intense and playful like on "Il Campione", or sad such as in "September Never Comes", or menacing such as in "Windmill". Smart, refreshing music.

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