Click here to [close]

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

The Miracle –s/t (Mr. Nakayasi Records, 2020) ****

By Fotis Nikolakopoulos

If I had to put a subtitle to this recording in one word, it would be flexibility or mobility. The three musicians that make The Miracle move easily between genres (call it jazz, rock, funk) and seem ready and able to exchange ideas on the spot. Giotis Damianidis’ fluid bass works tremendously well with Joao Lobo’s free drumming. They leave enough room for the soulful sounds of Giovanni Di Domenico’s Hohner Pianet. The Pianet, a risky choice by itself, is a type of electro-mechanical piano, an instrument that produces a mix (to my unskilled ears at least) of jazzy and funk melodies at the same time.

The two side-long tracks that comprise this vinyl, Eulogia which means blessing in greek and Aforismos which means expulsion from the church literally, follow a basic trajectory. Both, in their more than 20 minutes durations, evolve slowly incorporating on the spot interaction from the three musicians. At first you can’t avoid the remark that the pianet seems to dominate in both tracks.

But as you devote more time to The Miracle, you realize how disciplined is Di Domenico’s playing when it comes to do exactly the opposite: to allow time and space for the rhythm section to evolve and get involved in lengthy dialogues. Those dialogues are so joyous and energetic that you never want them to end. All this energetic joy, these good vibrations so evident throughout the 43 minutes of The Miracle, comes in a crossover package that defies categorization. Is it a jazz record? Certainly it is. How funky it is? Too funky I’d say and that’s a big advantage in my agenda.

All three of them can really make you move, while you listen to The Miracle. They swing in the good old-fashioned way. I have commented before for this blog, that sometimes improvisational recordings have the tendency to be really dry and unplayful. While free jazz, even at its peak in the 60’s and 70’s, incorporated the element of playfulness and joy. All this mobility that I initially wrote will make you move your ass in an improvisational way.