Art Kavanagh lives in Toulouse. But he’ll be over in London during the London Jazz Festival, because he doesn’t want to miss Stefano Bollani at Kings Place. Here’s why.
Italian pianists. They don’t resemble a school. They don’t sound like each other. It’s hard to put your finger on what is peculiarly Italian about them (apart, some of the time, from choice of repertoire). So there probably isn’t anything distictive in the water in Italy….
And yet, something special and important is clearly going on. I read an article by Thomas Conrad in JazzTimes in 2007 (link below). Some of the pianists named in that article- and in particular Stefano Bollani – would be very near the top of any list I might make of my own favourite pianists from any country.
It was because of this fascination that in July I went to Perugia for the opening weekend of the Umbria Jazz Festival. The highlight of my visit was certainly Bollani’s duo with Chick Corea. That was remarkable, but I came away impatient to hear him play in a trio.
Later in the summer, I was excited to read that one of his two regular trios, the “Danish” one with Jesper Bodilsen and Morten Lund, would be playing some dates in Italy in November, including the Rome Jazz Festival. I didn’t yet know that this tour would mark the launch of Stone in the Water, the trio’s third album and their first for ECM. Three of the Italian dates were tantalizing, because in each case the Brad Mehldau trio was playing in or near the same city a week earlier. But in the end I couldn’t make it.
Then, unexpectedly, an appointment came up in London on 16 November. So….if I stayed an extra couple of days, I’d be able to hear Bollani at the Kings Place, where he’s playing four dates. On the 18th it’s the Danish trio. The following day, the trio is augmented by Enrico Rava (with Bollani in photo above). On Friday, Bollani is playing in a duo with Antonello Salis, while on 21st it’s his I Visionari quintet. I’m going on the 18th.
See also: Stefano Bollani – interview by Ted Panken for jazz.com HERE