Anat Fort Trio with Gianluigi Trovesi – Birdwatching
(ECM 473 2357. CD review by Mike Collins)
Pianist Anat Fort’s third album for ECM brings together her established, empathic trio; her distinctive, evocative writing and legendary Italian reedsman Gianlugi Trovesi. The result is a set shot through with wistful lyricism, improvisations that explore moods and textures whilst painting portraits in sound and a quiet, irrepressible optimism.
Several of the twelve originals bear titles that are both descriptive and reference contemplation of nature. First Rays, a short solo piano piece, creeps into the speakers, starting the set with quietly struck open chords and a slowly unwinding melody. Earth Talks, introduces Trovesi with a simple calling phrase, then clarinet and piano twist around each other with exploratory meandering lines before the the haunting phrase returns. Not the Perfect Storm darkens the atmosphere. Menacing rolls from Roland Shneider’s drums and rippling dark piano chords introduce a brief melodic calm from the clarinet before a collective tumult develops, bassist Gary Wang joining the fray. It’s Your Song, an attractive melody, bobs along on the fluid momentum of the trio, first Fort and then Wang soloing with zest and lyrical freedom. Jumpin’ In is another more open, collective improvisation full of twists and turns, squawking runs from Trovesi and percussive outbursts from the piano. Meditation for a New Year sounds like there were good things anticipated with a skipping groove and a perky theme setting the scene for an engaging trio workout. Whilst the mood is reflective throughout, there are plenty of contrasts. Moments of spaciousness are followed by dense, conversational improvisation; soaring, elegant phrases by angular melodies and dissonant harmony. The set ends as it began with solo piano, Sun is a quiet piece with ‘just so’ bright chords to lighten the atmosphere.
Fort and Trovesi make a great team, frequently in counterpoint and Trovesi blending his sound beautifully with the piano. This a gently glowing gem of an album.