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Giovanni Guidi: A New Day

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Giovanni Guidi: A New Day
There are in effect two albums on this disc by Italian pianist Giovanni Guidi's trio, and whether a listener would prefer to have just one of them will be a matter of personal taste. The duality stems from the presence of guest tenor saxophonist James Brandon Lewis on four of the seven tracks.

Guidi's trio—completed by American double bassist Thomas Morgan and Brazilian drummer Joao Lobo—debuted in 2013 with City Of Broken Dreams, following up in 2015 with This Is The Day (both ECM). The two albums carved out a niche for the group: abstract but prettily lyrical, understated, frequently rubato and possessing a degree of interaction between the players that was close to cellular. In 2019, Guidi, wishing to extend the trio's sonic palette, brought guests tenor saxophonist Francesco Bearzatti and guitarist Roberto Cecchetto on board for their third album, Avec Le Temps (ECM).

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, onetime gospel music specialist Lewis was making a transition to faith-informed jazz, debuting in 2014 with Divine Travels (Okeh). Though it is a close-run thing, the apogee of this trajectory is arguably 2023's masterpiece For Mahalia With Love (Tao). In 2024, Lewis, wishing to extend his palette, guested on The Messthetics And James Brandon Lewis (Impulse!), an in-your-face rock/jazz mash-up.

Lewis and the Guidi trio are not natural bedmates. The trio is so understated as sometimes to make Erik Satie's piano miniatures sound brash, while Lewis is a conviction player whose heart is illuminated on his sleeve in neon. The trio is at their best on A New Day on Richard Rogers and Lorenz Hart's "My Funny Valentine," the only non-original on the album, played without Lewis, and so atomized as to be all but unrecognizable. Lewis is at his best on Guidi's emotionally expressive "Luigi (The Boy Who Lost His Name)."

As the press materials observe, Lewis' presence on A New Day means that Guidi's trio explores new dialects, at least in those passages where Lewis is on mic. Whether those dialects speak as persuasively as the old ones will, one suspects, vary from listener to listener.

Track Listing

Cantos Del Ocells; To A Young Student; Means For A Rescue; Only Sometimes; Luigi (The Boy Who Lost His Name); My Funny Valentine; Wonderland.

Personnel

James Brandon Lewis
saxophone, tenor
Thomas Morgan
bass, acoustic
Additional Instrumentation

James Brandon Lewis: tenor saxophone (1, 4, 5, 7).

Album information

Title: A New Day | Year Released: 2024 | Record Label: ECM Records


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