THERE’S MAGIC at work when music repeatedly invites you back to delve more deeply into its subtle nuances; something sensed particularly strongly in London Stories – an intimate, acoustic sound world created by guitarists Maciek Pysz and Gianluca Corona.
Based in the UK capital, Polish-born Pysz and Italian native Corona began this partnership in 2012, and also are acquainted through projects such as their Acustica Trio. These eight original numbers, originally captured in 2014, recall the pellucid craft of Ralph Towner, Al Di Meola or (the now late) John Abercrombie, presenting an airy synergy which suggests relaxed conversation drifting from a dappled-lit pavement cafe; a series of studies or, indeed, chapters where the unfolding narrative continues from page to page.
The focus here, heard closely, is a delight as the players’ classical and acoustic guitars seamlessly exchange precise, bright melodies and sensitive chordal efflorescence in Maciek Pysz’s gentle, Flamenco-tinged Fresh Look; and co-composed Amici skips amiably in similarly Spanish shades, though also with a more subdued, wistful heart. From Pysz’s trio album Insight, warm, melodic Those Days takes on an openness which reveals more of its deft, harmonic framework alongside crisp soloing and a purposeful unison bass riff – in fact, attempting to track the cross-pollination of the duo’s roles can be pretty futile, such is their technical parity. Corona’s Tower Block ebbs and flows through sun and shade, the closeness of the recording picking up hints of breath alongside Aeolian harp-like guitar expressions, whilst Pysz’s elegant bossa, Story of a Story, perpetuates that sense of storytelling as the implied tranquillity of green spaces becomes interspersed with urban busyness.
Phrases in Gianluca Corona’s LHM are fleetingly imbued with the classical guitar character of Lennon & McCartney (maybe it’s those diminished harmonies, reminiscent of ‘And I Love Her’); and dustily rhythmic Desert – another dually-written composition – is perhaps one of the most ambitious as rapid, impassioned, fret-sliding intervals combine with brisk, improvised lines. Closing the set, Corona’s charming, song-like Red Door (one can imagine a vocal) is flushed with countrified descending chords, perhaps imagining a silhouetted-skyline afterglow – and for a moment, all seems well with the world.
These London Stories are recounted in a very personal way by two skilful, empathetic guitarists. Your full attention will be rewarded.
Maciek Pysz classical guitar, acoustic guitar
Gianluca Corona classical guitar
33 Jazz Records – 33JAZZ262 (2017)