Thursday, February 25, 2016

Stefano Battaglia Trio, In the Morning

When I get an abundance of good things for review, I sometimes find there is more to cover than there is time. But I do make a point of getting to everything worthwhile even if I have a backlog. That is the case with the fine album from last year by the Stefano Battaglia Trio, In the Morning (ECM B0023620-02), concentrating on the music of Alec Wilder, who wrote some classics that belong in the Great American Songbook and also was a fine composer of chamber music.

Now Wilder music predisposes me to pay attention to a group and its release, but beyond that Stefano Battaglia and his trio outdo themselves with some stunning improvisations here. There is a post-Jarrettian attention to modal-zonal grooves that have a quasi-world sound, but also some really fine harmonic-melodic realizations and excursions by Battaglia and bassist Salvatore Malore, and some excellent drumming by Roberto Dani.

They manage to work with the stunning Wilder song forms and make of them something personal and improvisationally advanced. It's a live recording at the Torino Jazz Festival, 2014, and it is quite obvious that they are in a very inspired frame of mind.

What is evident and praiseworthy is the way they make tracks beyond the open yet structured freedom of the Jarrett Trio at its peak and use it as a foundational basis to build considerably and fruitfully upon.

This is some magic music, I tell you true. The more I hear it, the more it speaks to me. It is probably and in fact undoubtedly one of the landmark piano trio recordings of last year. It tickles my musical being, and I think it will do the same for you.


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