CD review

Gianluigi Trovesi/Gianni Coscia – La Misteriosa Musica Della Regina Loana

Gianluigi Trovesi/Gianni Coscia – La Misteriosa Musica Della Regina Loana

(ECM 773 8787. CD review by Peter Bacon)

There is an awful lot of very good jazz around today being made by young people with both creativity and technique. But sometimes what is missing is the depth, the hinterland (which is understandable – there is no substitute for age and experience). So, if you’re looking for age, experience and oodles of hinterland, look no further.

There are two elderly men, and another no longer with us, to thank for this thoroughly satisfying and deeply delightful album: the clarinettist (piccolo and alto) Gianluigi Trovesi, the accordionist Gianni Coscia, and Coscia’s sadly departed friend Umberto Eco.

The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana – its English title – is a strongly autobiographical illustrated Eco novel, and suggests the music Trovesi and Coscia play here. Coscia explains in the liner notes:

“We have tried to run back through some of the book’s countless musical cues, as best as we could and with no claims to completeness. In some cases, we have inserted a few things that the author certainly had in mind but didn’t express explicitly.”

And what is this music? There are some originals from the pair, including three variations inspired by Janáček’s In The Mists but there are also jazz classics and standards such as Basin Street Blues, As Time Goes By (incidentally Eco’s first choice when a castaway on Desert Island Discs), Moonlight Serenade among other popular European songs of the Second World War years.

The playing – and it’s confirmed by a photo of Trovesi and Coscia in the CD booklet – is full of smiles and laughter, as well as a certain nostalgic warmth and time-honed generosity of spirit, tempered with the dry wit of age. It’s especially rewarding to hear Trovesi, who often heads into more stridently “modern” realms in his own compositions, laying back and luxuriating in the comfort of a melody and set of sonorities as are to be found in the Glenn Miller serenade and the Casablanca tune. Elsewhere it is Coscia who provides that sumptuous sofa for Trovesi.

For this old codger, an hour spent with these two Italian master musicians reminiscing at length is worth a day spent with the young bucks.

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