Pianist Giovanni Guidi and trombonist Gianluca Petrella, key figures in what some are hailing as a “golden age” of Italian jazz, found their strong improvisational rapport inside Enrico Rava’s band (see for instance the 2010 ECM album Tribe) and, keen to play more, formed a duo, giving many concerts in which they are intermittently joined by guests. For this studio recording, producer Manfred Eicher brought the duo together with US drummer Gerald Cleaver and French clarinetist Louis Sclavis, for an outgoing set of music which includes lyrical free improvising and tunes composed by Giovanni and Gianluca.
Pianist Giovanni Guidi (born 1985), is one of the most outstanding musicians to have emerged from the ranks of Italian jazz in the last decade and has already made his presence felt on Enrico Rava’s “Tribe” and “On The Dancefloor” albums. Rava praises both Guidi’s “limitless curiosity” as an improviser and his “relentless refinement” of touch and musical taste, and the pianist continually proves that those qualities are not opposites. His first leader date for ECM is a glowing collection of self-penned tunes, simultaneously inner-directed and creatively daring, with many adroit exchanges between the musicians and plenty of space given also to bassist Thomas Morgan, whose role in the Guidi Trio is perhaps analogous to Scott LaFaro’s in the Evans Trio. Portuguese drummer João Lobo is another highly original musician, poetically shading the music with a delicate tracery of cymbals.
The Giovanni Guidi Trio plays jazz of uncommon originality and reflective depth. On their second ECM album, Italian pianist Guidi, US bassist Morgan, and Portuguese drummer Lobo continue the work begun on the 2011 recording City of Broken Dreams, with pensive, abstract ballads which shimmer with inner tension. Each of the players has a strong sense for the dialectics of sound and silence. The repertoire is mostly from Guidi’s pen, but also includes the standard “I’m Through with Love”, Cuban songwriter Osvaldo Farrés’ “Quizás, quizás, quizás” (familiar to jazz listeners through, above all, Nat King Cole’s version), and “Baiiia” by João Lobo.
L’album precedente era un omaggio ai ribelli sconosciuti che hanno animato i moti rivoluzionari. Stavolta entriamo nell’ambito della ribellione personale, dei sentimenti, delle emozioni. Andiamo a esplorare l’altra faccia della rivoluzione”. Il live ripercorre varie fasi della carriera del gruppo, diventando una sorta di “best of”. “Ci sono nuovi brani scritti per l’occasione, miei e di Dan Kinzelman, alcuni classici del nostro repertorio e due pezzi sudafricani. И un disco d’amore per le persone, per la musica e per gli amici. Ribelli dal cuore d’oro.
La produzione di ECM è sconfinata ed estrarne una raccolta antologica sarebbe stato davvero improbo. Musica Jazz ha voluto così sottolineare un aspetto non sempre chiaro ai più, ovvero la qualità artistica e strumentale dei musicisti italiani, caratteristiche che hanno meritato l’attenzione di Manfred Eicher e del suo staff. E anche in questo caso la selezione non è stato semplice, costringendo a trascurare – obtorto collo ma per prosaiche ragioni di spazio – alcune eccellenti produzioni del passato.
Small Town presents guitarist Bill Frisell and bassist Thomas Morgan in a program of duets, the poetic chemistry of their playing captured live at New York s hallowed Village Vanguard. Frisell made his debut as a leader for ECM in 1983 with the similarly intimate In Line. The guitarist's rich history with the label also includes multiple recordings by his iconic cooperative trio with Paul Motian and Joe Lovano, culminating in Time and Time Again in 2007. Small Town begins with a tribute to Motian in the form of a searching, 11-minute interpretation of the late drummer s composition It Should've Happened a Long Time Ago, the duo's counterpoint yielding a hushed power. Morgan has appeared on several ECM albums of late, as bassist of choice for Tomasz Stanko, Jakob Bro, David Virelles, Giovanni Guidi and Masabumi Kikuchi. Small Town sees Frisell and Morgan pay homage to jazz elder Lee Konitz with his Subconscious Lee, and there are several country/blues-accented Frisell originals, including the hauntingly melodic title track. The duo caps the set with an inimitable treatment of John Barry s famous James Bond theme Goldfinger.