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Sometimes the title of a record reveals that the music is something special. This is indeed the case with Argentinian pianist Francisco Lo Vuolo's solo piano album In Walked Francis.
Anyone who is slightly familiar with Justo Lo Prete's label Rivorecords knows what to expect: Pure quality releases in sophisticated packaging that focus on the sound made famous by Blue Note in the 1950s and 1960s. Lo Prete is interested in providing a contemporary take on jazz tradition and that is why the records on the label are often named after classic songs and standards, but In Walked Francis is an exception and an unusually bold title. It is a reference to pianist Thelonious Monk
's classic composition "In Walked Bud" and suggests that Lo Vuolo doesn't need to play in the shadows of previous masters. He has his own walk, his own thing.
Lo Vuolo's originality isn't shown in the choice of material that still relies on the repertoire of standards like "Star Eyes" and "I'm Old Fashioned" and modern jazz classics like Monk's "Ruby My Dear" and, of course, "In Walked Bud." Instead, Lo Vuolo brings his superbly swinging sense of rhythmic surprise and melodic feel to the table and plays with a refreshing rebellious passion that would have made Monk proud.
Lo Vuolo also plays his own original "Arthur's Blues," a smoky ballad with a deep blue feeling and playful twists and turns. Here, it is easy to imagine the pianist sitting late at night in a little bar, playing his music while people are sipping wine. The piano sings and all ears are suddenly listening as Lo Vuolo walks around the keys and makes the notes bloom like beautiful flowers. For a moment, forget Bud Powell