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PAOLO FRESU, DANIELE DI BONAVENTURE – IN MAGGIORE / ECM 2412    player

Through their work in the concerts of Mistico Mediterraneo, created together with the celebrated Corsican vocal ensemble A Filetta (see ECM 2220), Paolo Fresu and Daniele di Bonaventura discovered a strong creative affinity and have further developed their lyrical musical language in a decade of collaborative projects.

In maggiore, recorded in Lugano’s Auditorio Stelio Molo in May 2014 and produced by Manfred Eicher, is their first album in duo formation. It explores a more intimate expressive dimension, in which the Sardinian trumpeter and the bandoneonist from Italy’s Marche region deploy the poetry of small sounds and gestures, all the more potent in an often noisy and information-saturated time. Their focus is on the colours generated by the breath flowing through the valves of Fresu’s horns and vibrating in the reeds of di Bonaventura’s bandoneon. Fresu here renounces the use of electronic effects characteristic of some of his live performances. The detailed Lugano recording emphasizes instead the grain of the sound which incorporates also the sounds of metal struck by Fresu or the rattle of di Bonaventura’s keys as occasional rhythmic accompaniment: audible signs of the physicality of the relationship with the musical instruments.

The story unfolds seamlessly through original compositions, improvisations and melodies that belong to shared musical memory. The echoes of the opening classic cadenza give way to the Breton lullaby which inspired Fresu’s "Ton Kozh". Then, the horizon expands with a bittersweet Latin American episode where the melancholy "O Que Sera" by Chico Buarque de Hollanda surprisingly segues into the Chilean resistance song "El Pueblo Unido Jamas serà vencido”.

Fresu demonstrates an unerring instinct as an improviser in extracting the kernel of a crucial piece by outlining its melodic contours with a few essential features. Through Brazil, Chile and Uruguay to Jaime Roos’s "Se Va La Murga" the repertoire of the duo disc travels – without touching directly upon the Argentine bandoneon tradition which once lured di Bonaventura away from his first instrument, the piano. "Te Recuerdo Amanda", a song dedicated to his mother by the murdered Chilean singer-songwriter Victor Jara, has a special meaning for the duo, inextricably linked to the time when they played to an audience of more than 6,000 people who stood in homage to what has become a sort of unofficial national anthem of post-dictatorship Chile.

“Apnea”, again by Fresu, counterpoints an album in which “breath” plays a significant role: it’s influenced and inspired by the novel by Lorenzo Amurri about a musician’s return from a coma, following a terrible ski accident. The tender waltz from Puccini’s Bohème “Quando m’en vo soletta per la via” leaves the theatre before coming back to the ballroom, while “Kyrie” composed by di Bonaventura reminds us of the solemn atmospheres of Mistico Meditarraneo. Fresu’s original tune “In Maggiore”, which gives the album the title and which ends the album with a series of intervals in major with a colour rarely used in jazz, recalls the very beginning. The story of the realization of this CD is conveyed in the impressionistic film Wenn aus dem Himmel... by Fabrizio Ferraro, inspired by the two musician’s journeys from their home cities to Lugano. Stills from the film are shown in the CD booklet.

 

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Trumpeter Paolo Fresu has appeared on more than 300 albums, including leader dates for EMI, RCA and Blue Note. His first appearance in the neighbourhood of ECM came in 2007 when he played on – and indeed was the subject of – Carla Bley’s The Lost Chords Find Paolo Fresu, issued on the ECM-distributed WATT label. In 2009 he was heard in a duo collaboration with guitarist Ralph Towner on Chiaroscuro. The Towner/Fresu duo has toured widely.

In addition to the Mistico Mediterraneo work with Fresu, bandoneonist Daniele di Bonaventura’s ECM credits include Miroslav Vitous’s Universal Syncopations II which won the German Critics Prize (Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik) as Album of the Year 2007.

© 2HP Production, December 2017
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