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Friday, April 05, 2019

CD Review: Giovanni Guidi – Avec Le Temps

Giovanni Guidi (piano); Francesco Bearzatti (tenor sax); Roberto Cecchetto (guitar); Thomas Morgan (double bass); João Lobo  (drums). 
(Review by Chris)

The third ECM release in March from the southern shores of Europe, recorded immaculately in southern France at the same studio as Dominic Miller’s Absinthe.  Guidi is a highly regarded pianist on the Italian scene, notably playing extensively with Enrico Rava, as well as the late great trumpeter, Tomasz Stanko.

This is high-class modern chamber jazz, with a distinctive cool feel. The slow, limpid piano lines are embellished with ultra-artful bass and drums (complete with high pitched scraping), augmented in the middle tracks by tenor and guitar.

The opening, title track, Avec Le Temps, is the standout, and one of the most striking, sadly beautiful, pieces I have ever heard. Yes, truly.  It is a cover of Leo Ferre’s much-covered chanson of lost lovewithout lyrics here, but all the more heartbreaking because of the harmonic depths. Even on third or fourth playing I felt compelled to listen spellbound, until released at the last breath, feeling somewhat numb.  

The rest of the album didn’t reach the same heights for me though.  Track 2, 15th of August, starts with a Methenyesque guitar theme, slowing down when joined by sax and sporadic drums. Track 3, Postludium and a kiss, features squawking sax in a much freer improv.  No Taxi is short and direct, reminiscent of Jarrett’s piano on Bop-Be. This is followed by another free number, Caino, littered with clatters and more squawking.

The final two tracks return to tranquillity. Ti Stimo sees a simple, wholesome (Italian?) tune on guitar, which is repeated and worked over with some style.  The closer, Tomasz, is a fitting tribute to Guidi’s late colleague, managing to combine some freedom with interlacing melodic lines.

Overall, beautiful and sad pieces at start and end, but I was not so engaged by the rest. 
For me, best consumed by listening to the first track, then nipping out for a swift Barolo, back in time for the last two tracks…
Chris Kilsby
Release date: 22.03.2019 ECM 2604

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