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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Andrea Centazzo & Roberto Ottaviano - In A Rainy Day (Ictus, 2012) ***½

By Stef  

Andrea Centazzo is what you can call a "pure" percussionist, a musician who creates percussive sounds, with whatever object or in whatever setting. What counts for him is the impact of the sound, and it sounds like drama, with lots of silences and sudden outbursts full of effect and reverb, as if all his music is created in large empty spaces like churches or caves or just a studio with the reverb switch on the maximum level.

His companion for "In A Rainy Day" is his fellow countryman Roberto Ottaviano on soprano, a fabulous lyricist and improviser. Both musicians started collaborating thirty-five years ago, with the saxophonist becoming a member of Centazzo's Mitteleuropa Orchestra, but their careers bifurcated in the late eighties.

All pieces are improvised during a one-day session, with themes sometimes borrowed from elsewhere, as with Satie"s beautiful "Gnossienne # 1" or from Ellington, yet never as a premeditated tune. The whole album wallows in the same sad and lonely mood, somewhat sentimental at moments, sometimes reminiscent of John Surman, a mixture of ECM spaciness and free improvisation, but always beautiful.

The only track that breaks the cohesion of the album is "A Kind Of Duke's Blue", a nice boppish piece, which suddenly sounds as if both musicians are playing in your living room. Although pleasant by itself, the overall cohesiveness of the album could have benefited from its absence.

In all, a nice album with great interplay between two excellent musicians, yet not essential.

© stef