Maciek Pysz and Daniele di Bonaventura Coming Home
(Caligola 2232. CD Review by Peter Jones)
Coming Home is a stunningly beautiful album that very nearly got my vote for best of the year. A triumph of understatement and restraint, it features the acoustic guitar of Maciek Pysz and the piano and bandoneon of Daniele di Bonaventura. The sweet melancholy of the tango is what this is all about: these are all original tunes but they sound as if they have been haunting the backstreet cafes and dusty dancehalls of Buenos Aires for decades. And the melodies of tunes like Nadir and More and More are so strong that they’re crying out for lyrics.
Having collaborated on Pysz’s A Journey in 2015, the duo premiered this new album at the London Jazz Festival a few weeks ago. Polish-born Pysz is a specialist in the music of South America. He’s been based in London since 2003, and has played all around the UK with the likes of Asaf Sirkis, Tim Garland and Ivo Neame, as well as in mainland Europe. I’d assumed Di Bonaventura was Argentinian but in fact he was born in Italy. He records for ECM and has worked all over the world, collaborating with everyone from Toots Thielemans and Lenny White to Mathias Eick.
The music on Coming Home is acoustic. The bandoneon sounds like an accordion but is played like a concertina, and one of the many pleasures of listening to it, apart from di Bonaventura’s intensely melodic improvisational gift, is the way it huffs, clacks and wheezes. You’re just not going to get that from an electronic keyboard. Pysz is a wonderfully subtle player, and likewise, whilst his runs and chords are gorgeous, you also appreciate the squeaks and creaks and scrapes of the strings. This is particularly noticeable on the slow numbers, such as Lights and Tree (no Xmas connection intended here, I’m sure).
Some electronic effects are used. On the title track, for example, one of Pysz’s compositions, both musicians appear to be using volume pedals to ‘bow in’ the notes, which are sustained through the use of plate echo.
On some tracks, such as di Bonaventura’s Tango and Pysz’s More and More and Blue Tango, di Bonaventura plays piano, giving the tunes a more stately treatment. And on both the funkish Paquito and the waltz I Gazzillori you can readily picture dancers twirling away in the background.
Anyone who likes latin music, or guitar music, or just good music in general, would surely enjoy the richness and warmth of Coming Home.