Stefano Bollani: Joy in Spite of Everything (ECM/Ode)

 |   |  <1 min read

Stefano Bollani: No Pope No Party
Stefano Bollani: Joy in Spite of Everything (ECM/Ode)

Although this album gets credited above to the witty, inventive and very lively Italian pianist Stefano Bollani (familiar from albums with trumpeter Enrico Rava), the Danish rhythm section of bassist Jesper Bodilsen and drummer Morten Lund will also be known to followers of the ECM label (again through the Rava connection) . . . although perhaps not as familiar as the other two players, the shapeshifting tenor player Mark Turner (from Billy Hart's bands) and brilliant guitarist Bill Frisell.

So this is quite some collusion of talent and ideas across these nine Bollani originals, and the reference points frequently shift between the buoyant end of Sonny Rollins' calypso style (Easy Healing), allusions to the staccato angularity and clipped melodic lines of Ornette Coleman (No Pope No Party where Frisell unveils his most fluid melodicism in a sheen of distinctive sound and Bollani's solo will put a smile on your face) and through to North African references (Alobar e Kudra).

The title track at the end alternates between a flurry of bumble-bee busyness and delicately swinging classic piano-trio playing, Tales from the Time Loop allows Frisell to create the slightly gravity-denying ambience and ethereally space-trip context before a lovely solo by Turner, and a high point is the 12 minute centrepiece Vale which is somewhere between elegant romance and misty film noir.

There's a lot of information packed into these generous 76 minutes, but the impression you'll take away at the end was bannered to you right at the start: Joy, in spite of everything.

A sheer, understated delight. 

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Jazz articles index

Reuben Bradley: Resonator (Rattle Jazz)

Reuben Bradley: Resonator (Rattle Jazz)

This new album on the immaculately presented and recorded Rattle Jazz imprint proves again there is a depth of New Zealand jazz talent to be encouraged and taken to a wider audience.... > Read more

The New Fuse Box: The Wakem/Nielson Project (LGW)

The New Fuse Box: The Wakem/Nielson Project (LGW)

A little clarifying chronology here might be useful when teasing out the threads of this Auckland jazz group. As I recall their debut album The Politiks of Jazz (just credited to Fuse Box)... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

HENRYK GORECKI, THE SORROWFUL SYMPHONY: Capturing the spirit of the age, and marketing

HENRYK GORECKI, THE SORROWFUL SYMPHONY: Capturing the spirit of the age, and marketing

When Billboard magazine – the bible of the international music industry – put classical music on its cover in September '92 with the heading “It’s Cool Again!” there... > Read more

BIEBER FEVER (2010): In defense of cheap pop

BIEBER FEVER (2010): In defense of cheap pop

Police. Security. Screams. A singer comes to town. Because I've spent the past week immersed in a collection of essays and rants entitled Bubblegum Music is the Naked Truth, I'm a bit... > Read more