‘Dreamsville’ – Roberto Olzer Trio

dreamsville

ITALIAN PIANIST Roberto Olzer’s wonderful partnership with double bassist Yuri Goloubev and drummer Mauro Beggio continues to go from strength to strength.

2015 release The Moon and the Bonfires‘ limpid romanticism and sparkling energy ensured that it remains an oft-played recording; and some five years since this trio was established, the friends have again seamlessly blended a handful of originals with fascinating arrangements from sources including Henry Mancini, Alexander Glazunov, Sting and Giacomo Puccini.

Olzer explains that many of Dreamsville‘s titles seem to inspire a reflection on time; and introducing an album as diverse as its predecessor, the pianist’s own, wistful Novembre captures something of the essence of this ongoing collaboration; namely, an innate empathy between three accomplished musicians which elevates their sound to a magical, coalescent state. And here, Goloubev’s fine melodies and improvisations echo Olzer’s measured elegance, all supported by Beggio’s pin-sharp understatedness. The typically lush orchestration of Henry Mancini’s Dreamsville becomes an irresistible, bright’n’breezy waltz, whilst John Taylor’s New Old Age (Taylor, the album’s dedicatee) is transported from its piano, clarinet and bass familiarity into pacier, mesmeric and, at times, deliciously abstract environments; and Mauro Beggio’s solo miniature, Unlikely Taiko, adds a soupçon of intricate, oriental percussion.

There’s always a sense of a warm invitation into this trio’s sound world – and often via less obvious pathways. A fleet, yet sensitive reimagining of the Moderato from Glazunov’s Violin Concerto becomes illuminated by Olzer’s chiming high-line melodies, a world away from the original’s orchestral yearning; similarly, Com’è lunga l’attesa (from Puccini’s Tosca) revels in a new-found piano trio momentum; and the emotive violin theme from Richard Strauss’ Morgen is heartstoppingly refashioned, its tender piano awakening carried forward by Goloubev’s characteristically eloquent arco bass vibrato. Music’s subtleties can be so emotionally powerful.

Amongst these twelve tracks, contemporary reworkings include trumpeter Fulvio Sigurtà’s The Oldest Living Thing (from his album of the same name), its descending motif ideal for this trio’s introspective delicacy; and rising above so many cover versions, a swiftly grooving portrayal of Sting’s Fragile coruscates to imaginative improvisation and chameleonic colour (Olzer’s and Goloubev’s rapid, shared bass riffs are utterly joyful). Compatriot Italian pianists are well represented, too: Ramberto Ciammarughi’s charming Beau Piece flies like the wind, with Olzer’s intelligent, fluid extemporisations a key feature; and songlike Ferragosto – a composition by Carlo Magni and Goloubev – has the aura of a classic, enhanced by the bassist’s nimbleness and the fiery precision of Mauro Beggio.

Dreamsville‘s sublime hour radiates – as art so often can – life-affirming beauty and encouragement through remarkable musicianship. Indeed, Olzer appropriately quotes from John Henry Mackay’s poetic lines in Strauss’ Morgen: ‘Tomorrow the sun will shine again… and upon us will sink the mute silence of happiness.’

CD available directly from record label Atelier Sawano.

 

Roberto Olzer piano
Yuri Goloubev double bass
Mauro Beggio drums

robertoolzer.com
yurigoloubev.com
maurobeggio.com

Atelier Sawano – AS152 (2016)

‘Live at ReVoice!’ – Georgia Mancio

GeorgiaMancio

A SONG isn’t truly a song until it reaches out and grabs your heart, with both singer and accompanist sharing the enjoyment and responsibility of sensitively breathing life into its particular character. Communication is all.

Some five years ago, London-based vocalist Georgia Mancio founded her popular ReVoice! Festival (in association with the Pizza Express Jazz Club), and has since curated and programmed more than 160 emerging and established artists, including Norma Winstone, John Taylor, Kenny Wheeler, Carleen Anderson, Claire Martin and Gregory Porter. Amongst this abundance of live jazz showcases has been Georgia herself, making 44 appearances to date – and somehow, she has managed to whittle down numerous recorded accounts from the festival into this hour-long, twelve-track treasure trove.

What particularly stands out about this release is the raw, pared-down sincerity of the performances. Georgia Mancio shares the stage each time with a single guest instrumentalist – and rather than any sense of ‘anonymous accompanist’, there’s an enthralling synergy between them; in some respects, no surprise at all when the calibre of the musicians (listed below) is taken into account. These are bold, no-hiding-place expressions, and Mancio – as storyteller – possesses an innate adaptability, both in technique and artistry, to enhance the melodies and lyrics of these well-chosen pieces so naturally and so clearly, without the need for over-embellishment or showboating. And that’s classy.

Wherever you dive in, this music has the ability to stop you in your tracks. The wistful, affectionate poetry of Paul Simon’s I Do It For Your Love is softly illuminated by Mancio’s gliding phraseology and endearing vibrato, with Nikki Iles’ subtle pianistic invention typically exquisite; and the emotion of Sting’s Fragile is drawn into focus as Andrew Cleyndert’s cantabile double bass wraps itself around the vocalist’s poignant yet agile delivery. The impudent swagger of Hendricks/Turrentine number Sugar is priceless – a fabulously intuitive double-act with Mancio’s rapid, teasing phrases matched by Laurence Cottle’s bluesy, looped, 5-string bass brilliance; whilst Sammy Cahn’s The Things We Did Last Summer, to Colin Oxley’s luscious electric guitar chords and fleet-fingered extemporisations, couldn’t be more carefree (especially when Georgia’s signature whistling completes the sunshiny picture).

The wistfulness of Lennon & McCartney’s In My Life is elegantly reimagined, James Pearson’s rubato piano so at one with the vocal; as is Carole King’s Going Back, with Liane Carroll’s characteristic keyboard grandeur honouring that strong ’60s songwriting tradition. Michael Janisch’s double bass is recognisably and percussively ebullient (audacious, even!) in quickfire Just In Time, Mancio scatting energetically; and the shared Italian heritage of the vocalist and her accordionist Maurizio Minardi is eloquently expressed in Le Strade Di Notte, Minardi’s rising and falling dynamics intimating dimly-lit melancholy.

A handful of piano-accompanied jewels complete the selection, including delightfully waltzing yet bittersweet Bendita, co-written by Mancio and Tom Cawley; charming Willow Weep For Me (Jason Rebello’s harmonic searchings so magical); Robert Mitchell’s lithe fingerwork pirouetting with Mancio’s impressive vocal elaborations on Just Friends; and an irresistibly misty end piece, David Bowie’s When I Live My Dream, accompanied by Ian Shaw.

Seasoned fans of ReVoice! will probably be itching to get their hands on this. For any other appreciator of beautifully-fashioned vocal jazz… equally, it’s a must.

Released on 26 November 2015, on Roomspin Records, Live at ReVoice! can be purchased from Jazz CDs and Amazon, as well as at iTunes.

 

Georgia Mancio voice
with
Liane Carroll piano
Tom Cawley piano
Andrew Cleyndert double bass
Laurence Cottle electric bass
Nikki Iles piano
Michael Janisch double bass
Maurizio Minardi accordion
Robert Mitchell piano
Colin Oxley guitar
James Pearson piano
Jason Rebello piano
Ian Shaw piano

georgiamancio.com

Roomspin Records – 1942 (2015)