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Saturday, September 12, 2009

Forgiving July - Live At Novara Jazz Festival (Amirani, 2009) ****

Don't be misled by the art work. Although it gives the impression of featuring a dixieland or swing band, what you get here is pure improvisation between three musicians who know their instruments and their jazz legacy. Gianni Mimmo plays soprano, Angelo Contini trombone and Stefano Pastor violin. The performance was recorded live at the Novara Jazz Festival in 2008. The quality of the improvisations is absolutely excellent, and the three musicians' spontaneous interaction can only be the result of knowing each other quite well, and having a solid common understanding of the music they're playing. The sounds are abstract, quite definitely, but lyrical at the same time, drawing their inspiration from nature (at more than one moment, you have the impression that birds are having a dialogue), modern classical (in terms of phrasing and harmonics), jazz (and it does swing at times), and from the imagination of the moment, in rapid-speed reaction to the others. As said in an earlier review, Pastor's violin tone sounds warmer and reedier than you would expect, often bringing his timbre extremely close to that of the soprano. This trio is not the one for expansive playing, or for cerebral programmatic breaking of boundaries, but rather for pretenseless joy in the moment of music making with full disregard of constraints or patterns, but always looking for the new angle, the interesting addition, the creative challenge. Musically interesting avant-garde, fun and relatively accessible, a rare combination.

© stef