‘Grigio’ – Francesco Turrisi

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GRIGIO by name and understated cover art, but colourfully overflowing in atmosphere, musicality and originality, this eclectic release by Italian-born Dublin-based Francesco Turrisi celebrates and interprets the varied hues of Irish, Italian and Hebrew music.

Pianist and composer/arranger Turrisi assuredly directs this diverse collection, encouraging both close ensemble playing and individuality from his outstanding instrumentalists – Nick Roth (soprano sax), Kate Ellis (cello), Dan Bodwell (bass) and Sean Carpio (drums), plus guest Zohar Fresco (frame drums, percussion and additional vocals). The gleaming, crowning jewels in this project are two contrasting vocalists – Irish traditional singer Róisín Elsafty and multi-genre songstress Clara Sanabras – each bringing their particular warmth and character to the songs contained within the ten-track album.

Advancing straight to Turrisi’s title composition, Grigio, one immediately senses the subtlety and invention to be discovered here. Over a slow, mysterious piano ostinato (vaguely reminiscent of Soft Machine’s ‘The Tale of Taliesin’ from way-back-when), the mesmeric weaving of closely-toned cello and sax combined with expressive drums/percussion creates an arresting, spatial soundscape. John Zorn’s Hadasha employs similar patterns (though with a different, more upbeat hook) to coax the most striking guttural, hard-blown screechings and complex percussive improvisations to Turrisi’s ground bass and bright internal piano-string tracery. Indeed, the instrumental explorations are such that, frequently, it is difficult to discern the origins of the unusual blends of sound, making the experience all the more compelling.

Che si può fare introduces the sumptuously-ornamented voice of Clara Sanabras, bringing a special kind of theatre to the Italianate descending-bass motif of the piano trio (Turrisi, Bodwell, Carpio) – beautifully expressive throughout. The ingeniously long, sustained, overlapping EBow/piano technique demonstrated in traditional Irish tune Eleanór a rún creates an ethereal canvas for the pure, crystal-clear folk singing of Róisín Elsafty, as if ebbing and flowing beneath the calm of early morning mists. Elsafty’s diction and phrasing are magical… time seeming to stand still for these all-too-brief six minutes.

Nick Roth’s reverential arrangement of traditional Hebrew melody Maoz tsur, featuring his lachrymose soprano sax embellishments and Fresco’s synagogue-suggested wordless vocals over piano, cello and frame drums, lead to an ancient Irish lament, Síle Bheag Ní Chonnallainí, Turrisi providing sensitive piano accompaniment to Elsafty’s beguiling lyricism. Clara Sanabras illuminates early baroque composer Tarquinio Merula’s Canzonetta spirituale sopra la nanna, Bodwell’s repeated flexing bass a key element; and Sanabras’ voice also animates a Stefano Landi madrigal, Augellin, the leader offering considerable pianistic impetus as well as considered, deliberate soloing.

The rhythmically gentle motif of Turrisi’s own Tu ridi repeats with finely balanced piano, cello, voice and sax, though also surprises with some satisfyingly unexpected harmonic turns. Concluding, Róisín Elsafty’s reassuring, hushed vocal to Gaelic lullaby Seothin seó is quietly enhanced by Francesco Turrisi’s so-delicate pianistic ‘rocking’… bringing a particularly touching eventide glow to a recording of genuine beauty and refinement.

Launching in the UK at The Vortex, London, on 10 February 2014, followed by UK release on 24 February, ‘Grigio’ is available from Diatribe Records, Ireland’s foremost record label for new music.


Francesco Turrisi
piano, EBows
Nick Roth soprano saxophone
Kate Ellis cello
Dan Bodwell double bass
Sean Carpio drums

Special guests
Clara Sanabras vocals
Róisín Elsafty vocals
Zohar Fresco frame drums, percussion, vocals

Diatribe – DIACD015 (2013)

Diatribe.ie
francescoturrisi.com

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‘Nine Tales of the Pendulum’ – Mick Coady’s Synergy featuring David Binney

Pendulum

INITIALLY LAUNCHED towards the end of 2012, this excellent album from Mick Coady’s Synergy is now being re-released, this time in conjunction with a short UK tour, and then into Holland.

Coady assembles a great quintet to unlock the potential of these nine originals, and the players interact very much as a cohesive ensemble throughout – venturesome soloing, yet always an ear for overall colour and balance. The Irishman is a familiar presence on the London jazz circuit (bassist for Pete King and a host of visiting artists, as well as a founder member of the Loop Collective) – but here, for his first album, he reveals his prowess in creating intoxicating compositions (seven of the nine) for the estimable company of David Binney (alto), Michael Buckley (tenor), Ivo Neame (piano) and Sean Carpio (drums).

There is immediacy, solidity and verve to proceedings, typified by the driving pace of opening number, ‘Autumn’, Binney making his mark with unwavering, increasing vigour, the band matching him all the way; and Buckley offering only brief tenor respite in this magnetic, bubbling start. The anarchic saxophones of ‘Enemies of Order’ duel it out over Carpio’s exuberant rhythm before Neame and Coady enter the fray with their suitably brisk piano and bass display. The space of David Binney’s pegged-back ‘Real Ballad’ is delectable, alto and tenor fusing beautifully over the intertwining sonorous bass and searching piano improvisation – and such beguiling, sublime tenor soloing from Buckley.

‘Naturally Liberating Molecules’ communicates the band members’ empathy with each other; Carpio, Coady and Neame set up a mesmerising rhythm of intent which is the perfect vehicle for Binney and Buckley to accept the organic freedom the title suggests – hard-edged, growling and wailing tenor making this highlight bristle with excitement! Mick Coady takes the opportunity, in ’64 Claudio Coello’, to enhance mellifluous, combined sax lines before demonstrating his own instrumental lyricism. And from the pen of Ivo Neame comes the resolute ‘Unseen Coracle’ (from Neame’s current octet album, ‘Yatra’), his skilful writing and soloing illustrating why he is one of British jazz’s brightest and most versatile pianist/composers.

Further into the album, the 12-minute ‘Abyss’ is a darker affair, slow-burning, affording the quintet an expanse in which to breathe and explore ideas. ‘Beginning’ is strong on melodies, Buckley and Neame taking the lead assuredly, Coady and Carpio maintaining its strong impetus; and, finally, the enticing swing of ‘Skimpy’ provides an entertainingly lively play-out, refusing to adhere to the suggestion of its meagre title!

‘Nine Tales of the Pendulum’ (released 1 October 2013) deserves to be listened to closely and repeatedly – turn it up loud and you’re right there with them!


ALBUM PERSONNEL

Mick Coady Bass
David Binney Alto Saxophone
Michael Buckley Tenor Saxophone
Ivo Neame Piano
Sean Carpio Drums

LIVE PERSONNEL & DATES

Mick Coady Bass
David Binney Alto Saxophone
Julian Arguelles Tenor Saxophone
Ivo Neame Piano
James Maddren Drums

11 October 2013: Symphony Hall, Birmingham
13 October 2013: Marsden Jazz Festival
15 October 2013: Con Cellar Bar, London
17 October 2013: Band On The Wall, Manchester
18 October 2013: Denhaag, Holland

http://www.jellymouldjazz.net/releases/nine-tales-of-the-pendulum/

Jellymould Jazz – JM-JJ008 (2012/13)