Graham Reid | | 1 min read
Greek pianist/composer Tania Giannouli has had a long association with Auckland's Rattle label, this being her fifth release through them.
She has recorded with taonga puoro artist Rob Thorne and Rattle's Steve Garden on Rewa in 2018, with her own ensemble, and her trio album In Fading Light (piano, trumpet and oud, no rhythm section) was one of our Best of 2020 albums.
As far back a decade ago we had her answer a questionnaire, so needless to say we are delighted to hear more from her.
But also this is pleasingly less, just her improvising at piano
Of In Fading Light we said, “Tania Giannouli makes jazz of the kind where improvisation is just the starting point and somewhere out there -- or something deep inside -- is the aim”.
This solo outing aims for both as she effortlessly moves from turbulent intensity to quiet consideration within the same piece (Novelette with a beautiful melody casually explored in its final third) or exploring the percussive interior of the instrument (the more abstract Metal Snake, The Call and Punkt which are scattered among the 24 pieces).
At her most quietly engrossing (Two Notes) there is a sense of poised consideration, most obviously on the barely-there, 52 second piece Poise which leads into the assertive Same Dream.
Giannouli's right hand seems intuitively connected to melodies in the way Bill Evans and Keith Jarrett were (all very differently, of course) but on something like the strident Intone we also hear a muscularity and even anger being channeled before she shifts direction into elegant passages . . . then the wind changes back to a turbulent westerly.
Black Sea lives up to the allusions of its ambiguous title, a kind of space between East and West where musical tributaries from both (and more) feed into a powerful piece, but also the less literal idea of indifferent and turbulent waters..
There is a considerable interest in improvised solo piano and we'd hope that those who enjoy the challenge and rewards of the idiom wouldn't hesitate to come to this.
We've done our best to introduce her recent catalogue, she's out there waiting for you.
You can hear and buy this album at bandcamp here