Tuesday, January 02, 2018



Suite for Modigliani is a musical journey through the world of the painter Amedeo Modigliani, composed by the Italian jazz clarinettist Matteo Pastorino. The result is immensely pacifying and uplifting jazz music, performed by Pastorino, Damien Varaillon (double bass), Gilad Hekselman (guitar), Jean Baptiste Pinet (drums) and Matthieu Roffe (piano). Matteo Pastorino: "It is an expression of my impressions and emotions about Modi's art and life. The composed music was inspired by key events in his life, his creative process and his artistic pursuit. The pure, abstract beauty of his work reminds me that the past and present in the art of any era can communicate with each other with intense authenticity and graceful respect. This dimension of Modi's art has always fascinated me and guided me in my own musical journey. In painting, sculpture, music and other forms of artistic expression, all spontaneous quests for grace and purity echo, equate and ultimately coalesce with one another."


One of Europe's leading vocal explorers returns with an audiophile sound environment beyond categories. Ruth Wilhelmine Meyer's second album 'Klangbiotoper' has turned into something few would have expected from the exceptional Norwegian vocalist: A political statement: "When I set out to record this album, I saw the atrocities that we were committing towards our planet and it got me thinking", Meyer recounts, "I reflected on my lack of will to do something about the situation and about our collective failure to take action. In some ways, working on the album was a way for me to enter into a dialogue with the places, plants and creatures of nature." These softly flowing, harmonically open compositions oscillate between folk tunes from Meyer's childhood and associative, almost sculptural instrumental parts, in which her band - made up of tuba, saxophone and percussion - is casting the shapes and outlines of the worlds she is singing about on the retina of the mind's eye. What may sound somewhat eccentric and experimental on paper, turns out to be intoxicating, intense and intimate.


Let's just play around with the idea of a guy in his mid-twenties surfacing in New York as a formidable pianist, an original composer, a drummer good enough to teach his craft at Juilliards and a useful bass-guitar player all rolled into one. His chances of being heard and noted would be pretty good, news of him would travel fast in jazz circles, critics would latch on to this exciting fresh talent and by the time he came to the Old World he would be probably idolized even before he played a note on a European stage. Fortunately for his homeland and, perhaps, unfortunately for him, the brilliant pianist on this album with all the attributes mentioned above, was born, trained and is playing in Hungary. Aron Talas is only 27 but is already one of the go-to keyboard men in his country that is certainly not lacking in great pianists. As for his own compositions - and all the tunes are his own on this album - apart from their startling originality, there is an unpretentious freshness about them that would appeal even to a non-jazz audience. Yet it is just that fresh simplicity which makes these themes terrific vehicles for improvisation. In his playing Aron is equally capable of great lyricism and soaring passion. He never slurs his notes and plays with admirable clarity.One can easily understand his choice of musicians for his trio. Jozsef Barcza Horvath, originally a classical player who finally found his freedom in jazz, is one of the great virtuosos of the double bass whose solos of sometimes astonishing speed invariably display and incredible melodic coherence. Yet, as an accompanist he is humble and is absolutely in tune, in more than one sense, with his fellow musicians. The drummer, Attila Gyarfas is the same age as Aron and already possesses the faultless dynamics that are essential in a combo like this. A Big Talk is a track where the quality of this wonderful rhythm section is well to the fore.

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