CD review

Giovanni Guidi – Avec Le Temps

Giovanni Guidi – Avec Le Temps
(ECM 2604. CD review by Mike Collins)

Giovanni Guidi has a string of ECM recordings under his belt, both as a sideman and as leader of his own trio, with impressionistic, free, lyrical playing his calling card. His regular collaborators, bassist Thomas Morgan and drummer João Lobo join him on this latest release, but the addition of Francesco Bearzatti on tenor and Roberto Cecchetto on guitar for six of the eight tracks, opens up new possibilities that they explore to powerful effect.

The set opens with a quintessentially Guidi treatment of Léo Ferré’s chanson Avec Le Temps, the famous theme sketched, stretched and embellished in extended group interplay and lyrical flights from the piano. Then 15th Of August starts with an insistent bass figure, the guitar articulates a dancing theme, just for a second I thought Bill Frisell had insinuated himself into the band, and the atmosphere of the recording is transformed. Drums and piano add colour before Bearzatti joins Cecchetto with a restatement and exploration of the theme. Postludium And A Kiss starts with introspective piano, but then increasingly desperate and despairing multiphonic squawks from the sax and traceries of guitar interrupt and overwhelm whipping the band up into a racing tumult. No Taxi is a tumbling, snaking, Ornettish theme unleashing a piano solo of darting lines full of angular, boppish turns. Caino and Johnny The Liar explore textures and atmospheres, the band all ears as they develop the stories together. Ti stimo changes the tone again, a simple, four note, folk-like motif restated and developed with delicacy and reverence, letting the resonances sing and do their work. Tomasz closes the set with another trio number, Gianni channelling his inner Chopin as he lets fly over an emotional tribute to the late trumpet master Stanko.

Avec Le Temps revisits the loose, exploratory feel of Guidi’s previous trio releases City of Broken Dreams and This is The Day (reviewed here), with the tracks that bookend the session. The addition of guitar and sax, their singular contributions and evident sympathy with the core trio, make this a strikingly different and even richer listening experience. It’s one to savour.

Mike Collins is a pianist and writer based in Bath, who runs the jazzyblogman site. Twitter @jazzyblogman

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