CD REVIEW: Lars Danielsson – Liberetto III
(ACT 9840-2. Review by Filipe Freitas)
Swedish bassist Lars Danielsson, a master of melodious lines within accessible musical textures, leads the third instalment by Liberetto, an eclectic ensemble composed of guitarist John Parricelli, percussionist Magnus Öström and pianist Grégory Privat, who replaces Tigran Hamasyan.
Danielsson’s background is rich in fruitful collaborations, including recordings with Dave Liebman, Jon Christensen and Bobo Stenson – the members of his acclaimed quartet in the 1980s and ‘90s – as well as Jack DeJohnette, John Abercrombie, John Scofield and Rick Margitza.
Liberetto III opens with a softly meditative Preludium that spreads Oriental perfumes through a composed setting formed by acoustic guitar, feathery, strummed bass and the calm horn sounds projected by the special guests, Arve Henriksen on trumpet and Björn Bohlin on oboe d’amore. The latter switches to English horn on Agnus Dei, which flows with diatonic freedom as it advances at an imperturbable moderate pace regulated by Öström’s brushed drums. Privat, who plays a vaporous Rhodes here, sticks to an ostinato while the theme is delivered simultaneously by the bandleader and muted trumpet.
If you’re looking for a pop tune that truly grooves, Lviv does it wonderfully, and with an odd time signature. The B section brings some Eastern influences, which are intensified by Danielsson’s expressive bass solo. Still tinged with Arabic colors, Taksim by Night, a song retrieved from How Long Is Now, a trio album recorded last year, flourishes with the tunefulness of the oud’s sounds. Hassam Aliwat, the oud player, also appears on Sonata in Spain, a song whose passages are engraved with commercial pop melodies and wrapped in a flamenco aura.
Dawn Dreamer, a lyrical waltz drawn from classical and jazz genres, features Parricelli’s distorted guitar at the end. The guitarist shines again on Gimbri Heart, soloing with a hypnotic, rockish devotion after we have been taken to Sub-Saharan African landscapes through the enlightening rhythm that sustains Henriksen’s slinky trumpet lines.
Danielsson also prepares three prayerful tone poems, Orationi, in which he improvises before Henriksen matches his voice to the trumpet’s, leading Da Salo, another waltz worthy of a minstrel, and the instinctively Nordic Mr. Miller, which features Mathias Eick on trumpet, Sting’s guitarist Dominic Miller and Öström’s distinctive snare drumming.
Barchidda, a ballad à-la Bill Evans, closes the album in a reflective way, culminating a long journey that has encompassed Western Europe, Turkey, the Arab Middle East and Africa.
Enriched with suave melodic improvisations (except for Parricelli, who seemed far more adventurous), Liberetto III shows discipline in its structure and relaxing warm tones. It is as much recommended for travelling as for chilling at home.