Ralph Towner and Paolo Fresu: Chiaroscuro (ECM/Ode)

 |   |  1 min read

Ralph Towner and Paolo Fresu: Postlude
Ralph Towner and Paolo Fresu: Chiaroscuro (ECM/Ode)

The album title here perhaps suggest rather more shadowland than is evident in these beautiful, sometimes light-filled duets by acoustic guitarist Towner and flugel/trumpet player Fresu.

Certainly they head to the shadows for a lovely treatment of Blue in Green (from Miles Davis' classic Kind of Blue), but with Towner's rich and inclusive playing which alludes to his Brazilian influences and stately classical styles, and Sardinia-born Fresu pulling out cool mood tones and sometimes a slightly distant Miles-like quality, this album lives happily in warm and usually well-lit places.

Doubled Up (with Towner on deep baritone guitar) sounds like a real conversation between the two where sometimes a strongly held opinion is tossed into the dialogue, and at other times the two agree and laugh together. A real highpoint.

The background here is interesting: Towner -- a longtime member of the ECM family -- was commissioned to write for a Sardinian group some 15 years ago and Fresu was a member of that ensemble. Towner recognised his gift immediately -- but it has taken this long for them to team up.

This is Fresu's first appearance on ECM (although Carla Bley wrote the album The Lost Chords Find Paulo Fresu for him which appeared on her ECM associated label WATT three years ago).

For their material they have gone back to that commissioned piece (Punta Giara) and some of Towner's earlier work, including the breezy Zephyr which Towner wrote for the Oregon group back in the late Eighties.

The brief Postlude at the end is a beautifully spare and reflective piece. 

So here is music of proven depth (and experimentation on Two Miniatures) by players who have at last found each other -- and have taken the opportunity of their unusually paired instruments to share a love of melody and mood.

Very fine indeed. 

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

The Vaselines: Sex with an X (SubPop)

The Vaselines: Sex with an X (SubPop)

The little-known Vaselines out of Scotland got their sudden time in the spotlight when Nirvana covered a couple of their songs, notably Jesus Doesn't Want Me For a Sunbeam on their MTV Unplugged... > Read more

Cassette: The Jingle King (Paydirt)

Cassette: The Jingle King (Paydirt)

Alt.rockers Cassette from Wellington have pinned with tag "country loving" or "country rock" in some quarters and while that is fair, the definitions need some clarification:... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

The Heptones: Sweet Talking (Studio One)

The Heptones: Sweet Talking (Studio One)

Produced by the legendary Clement Dodd and fronted by the sweet voice of Leroy Sibbles, the Heptones were one of the great Jamaican vocal trios who brought in soulful harmonies borrowed from 50s... > Read more

PAUL McCARTNEY'S OFFICIAL BIOGRAPHY REVIEWED (1997): Still can't buy the love?

PAUL McCARTNEY'S OFFICIAL BIOGRAPHY REVIEWED (1997): Still can't buy the love?

Paul McCartney is the Beatle old fans love to hate: his sins are manifest in Silly Love Songs, a Linda and not a Yoko, the permanent Mr Thumbs Aloft attitude, the knighthood which his old colleague... > Read more