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

Various Artists: The Rough Guide to Arabic Jazz (Rough Guide/Southbound)

Various Artists: The Rough Guide to Arabic Jazz (Rough Guide/Southbound)

Here's a double disc -- a customary, intelligently compiled Rough Guide collection plus a bonus disc -- which might just as easily have been filed under our extensive World Music pages. But... > Read more

MIKE STERN INTERVIEWED (2013): Guitar to the stars . . . and Miles beyond

MIKE STERN INTERVIEWED (2013): Guitar to the stars . . . and Miles beyond

Guitarist Mike Stern spent time in Miles Davis bands in the early Eighties at a time when Davis – having been absent from the scene – was making yet another comeback. You'd think... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

UTE LEMPER INTERVIEWED (2003): The ice maiden cometh

UTE LEMPER INTERVIEWED (2003): The ice maiden cometh

Midnight on a warm Wednesday in New York City, the Gotham of the Great Republic. The German cabaret maven has come home early from a recording studio across town so, sure, she has plenty of time to... > Read more

Zionhill: Inside of You (Moko)

Zionhill: Inside of You (Moko)

Too many New Zealand reggae bands, once they have got the rhythm and melody down, rarely have much to say lyrically which doesn't default to soft notions about home and family, or a bunch of... > Read more