Friday, December 13, 2013

Stefano Bollani, Hamilton de Holanda, O que sera

When I put on my reviewer cap I open myself up to all kinds of music that I might not have gotten to otherwise. And sometimes that is an excellent thing indeed. Take the album up today, a duet album by the phenomenal Italian pianist Stefano Bollani and a Brazilian master of the bandolin (a 10-string mandolin), Hamilton de Holanda. O que sera (ECM B0018881-02) brings the two together in an extraordinarily vibrant duet live at the Jazz Middelheim festival in Antwerp last year.

The result is some extraordinary virtuoso duo playing. There are a number of Brazilian standards, something by Piazzolla, a couple of originals and other things. What stands out very strongly is the exceptional musicianship of the two. They take samba, bossa, and other forms and make them vehicles for their own madcap flight into sonic space.

Chops there are a' plenty between the two. But this goes considerably beyond mere chops into expressive territory virtually uncharted. The two create a surge of energy and sublimity so infectious that you are carried along into a meta-South-American musical paradise that you never knew was there but somehow was all along, lurking in the possibilities two exceptional players could realize. They do.

I am otherwise speechless, of course in the best way. Hear these two!

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