CD REVIEW: Paolo Fresu & Daniele di Bonaventura – In maggiore

Paolo Fresu & Daniele di Bonaventura – In maggiore
(ECM. 471 0051. CD Review by Patrick Hadfield.)

Recorded in an auditorium in Lugano, this CD shows how just two people can make music that will fill any space. Paolo Fresu plays trumpet and flugelhorn and Daniele di Bonaventura plays the Argentinian bandoneon, a concertina-like instrument. Together, the music they create spans jazz, folk, even, at times, ecclesiastical music, the bandoneon sometimes sounding remarkably like a church organ.

Fresu has a clean tone, not cold but precise. His playing is occasionally reminiscent of mid-period Miles Davis in sound and phrasing – the muted trumpet on Ton Kozh brought to mind Davis’ work on “Sketches of Spain”, and the mood on Sketches made me think of “Ascenseur pour l’échafaud”.

The are four numbers by Fresu, three by di Bonaventura, and the duo share the writing credits on one track. The other five pieces are by a several composers, including Puccini and a couple of South American composers.

One of the pieces by di Bonaventura is a solo Kyrie Eleison, a setting of a Christian prayer, which evokes holy spaces. Elsewhere, as well as a church organ, di Bonaventura makes his bandoneon sound like all manner of instruments: pianos, fiddles and horns, even a percussion section as he taps out rhythms on his otherwise silent keyboard.

The CD closes with a long note held by Fresu resonating in the hall. The venue make this feel very much like a live record. It has a very engaging sound, one I can listen to again and again: indeed, several times I have played it twice through, back to back, and not because I had to. It contains some fine music.

Categories: miscellaneous

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