Inner Book (Ita)


aec.imt1171405.2 10/7/14 New
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    Inner Book (Ita) Splasc(H) Records

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Review Text This is the third volume in Stefano Battaglia's Swiss Radio Tapes project, in which the pianist is presented in a number of different settings and freely improvises without edits. Here, American trumpeter Michael Gassmann proves not a worthy foil, exactly, because that would imply competition, but instead a co-creator in this lovely, languid, warmer-than-autumn and cooler-than-summer book of textures and muted colors. Glassmann comes off sounding more like Enrico Rava here than himself, and that's fine because these proceedings call for an open-minded lyricism to sort through modes and compositions based on tiny, insular scales that seem to give way in the middle of all this lyricism. Fans of intense Euro jazz need not come near this disc, as the proceedings are obsessed with quiet, spaciousness, and microtonal reverberations coming not only from Battaglia's piano but also from the trumpet. There are moments here, as on "Glide, Ship, Dance," where one can hear Pat Metheny's entire argument, the one he could never materialize with his own groups, come to life between this pair of musicians. This is the argument stating that, if the proper melodic balance is kept in improvisation, space -- or the sense of it -- creates itself and is far more expansive than the players could ever hope to discover in any other way. Here, modal integrity is sacrificed for chromatic invention for the sake of melodic dominance. But these aren't any simple three- or four-note patterns repeated endlessly, they are improvisations where the leap or perhaps transmutation from one scale into another dictates a lyric line that straddles both before it disappears in the creation of another. In the stunningly beautiful "Donna Velata," three different melodies come from Battaglia's piano and are milked for their singing soul before being transformed into others by Glassmann with a muted C or a flatted fifth from D major 6. The broken symmetry in "Vanished" becomes its own attempt at creating a new language for poetry, musical and otherwise. Glassmann just sings his tonalities down the pipe of rhythm and counterpoint, of pitch and harmony, offering a voice that is not singular, but can never really be double either -- simply because this music wouldn't exist without the sum of its parts. Without the other, each musician here would merely be a player and improviser instead of a poet. Brilliant and moving. ~ Thom Jurek

Track Listing

CD: 1

  1. 1. Your Hand in Mine - 3:58
  2. 2. Glide, Ship, Dance - 4:17
  3. 3. Coins - 4:00
  4. 4. Play Balloon - 3:19
  5. 5. Mater - 4:59
  6. 6. Flowing Variance - 3:43
  7. 7. Another Day Without You - 5:19
  8. 8. Leave for Good - 3:32
  9. 9. Donna Velata - 4:45
  10. 10. Not One, Not Three - 4:24
  11. 11. Joanne - 4:25
  12. 12. Vanished - 6:44

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