All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

93

Ark: Acquario

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Certainly less a traditional jazz album and more a chamber group recording, Acquario features the Arké String Project, a less-than-traditional string quartet augmented by double-bass. But despite all the through-composed work on the album, there is room made for improvisation on some levels, courtesy of guest pianist Stephano Bollani, heard recently on trumpeter Enrico Rava's outstanding ECM release Easy Living , and EGEA stable mate, clarinetist Gabriele Mirabassi. The result is something that, while less dramatic, somehow brings to mind Oregon's collaboration with a symphony orchestra, Oregon in Moscow.

Consisting, with the exception of one piece, of original material by violinists Carlo Cantini and Valentino Corvino, violist Sandra Di Paolo, bassist Stefano Dall'Ora and Bollani, Acquario is less overtly Mediterranean in nature than most EGEA recordings, pursuing deeper meaning through pieces that range from the Celtic-inflections of Di Paolo's joyful "Taranta" to Dall'Ora's tranquil "Tra Due Oasi," which features Mirabassi's warm and woody tone blending in seamlessly with the strings. The presence of double-bass gives the string quartet added depth and more forward motion, while Mirabassi's role as soloist over the track combines a clear knowledge of the classical tradition with a more exploratory improvisational verve.

Cantini's "Elicoidale" is a buoyant piece that features a theme bringing the double-bass and violins together in unison before shifting into a middle section that gives the violins and viola and chance to trade off before returning to the effervescent theme. Corvino's "Non Fermarmi" begins with stark and spacious chords from Bollani, the strings gradually entering and ultimately propelling the piece until, again, Bollani is left solo, with the strings only slowly re-entering and again providing a propulsive backdrop for Bollani's more jazz-centric improvisation.

The centrepiece of the album, however, is the elegiac "Jaco," no doubt written by Corvino in dedication to the late bassist Jaco Pastorius. Beginning with a bass drone, Corvino vocalizes in a Middle Eastern fashion until the full string ensemble enters with a piece that is touching, melancholic and, at the same time, somehow uplifting. If music is meant to be an expression of pure emotion, "Jaco" succeeds in evoking conflicting feelings and, in its mixed approach of beauty and lack of resolution, is a fitting homage to a man who, in life, was certainly defined by contradiction and discord.

Closing with the plaintive "Terra Antica," the ensemble creates an almost ambient texture, with a simple and suggestive melody over a strong pedal tone, resembling perhaps how Harold Budd might sound if he were to write for strings, or some of Gavin Bryars' more hypnotic work.

Included on the disc is a bonus track with the string ensemble and Bollani tackling, oddly enough, Joe Zawinul's Weather Report hit "Birdland." An odd choice, but somehow fitting as an uplifting finale to an album that is filled with darker and more haunting emotions, it leaves the listener on a note of recovery from the more richly affecting pieces that came before.


Track Listing: I Treni Che Vorrei; Tra Due Oasi; ELicoidale; Non Fermarmi; Taranta; Jaco; Acquario; Terra Antica; Bonus Track - Birdland

Personnel: Carlo Cantini (violin), Valentino Corvino (violin, voice), Sandro Di Paolo (viola), Piero Salvatori (cello), Stefano Dall'Ora (double-bass)
With special guests: Stephano Bollani (piano), Gabriele Mirabassi (clarinet)

Title: Acquario | Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Egea Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Acquario

Acquario

Egea Records
2004

buy

Related Articles

Read Origins CD/LP/Track Review
Origins
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 20, 2018
Read Bright Force CD/LP/Track Review
Bright Force
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 20, 2018
Read Say It CD/LP/Track Review
Say It
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: April 20, 2018
Read Alchemia Garden CD/LP/Track Review
Alchemia Garden
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 20, 2018
Read Don't You Wish CD/LP/Track Review
Don't You Wish
by Dr. Judith Schlesinger
Published: April 20, 2018
Read Making Other Arrangements CD/LP/Track Review
Making Other Arrangements
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: April 19, 2018
Read "Together Apart" CD/LP/Track Review Together Apart
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 24, 2017
Read "Star Gazing" CD/LP/Track Review Star Gazing
by Edward Blanco
Published: May 27, 2017
Read "The Way of It" CD/LP/Track Review The Way of It
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 19, 2017
Read "Quartet Plus, Volume 2" CD/LP/Track Review Quartet Plus, Volume 2
by Jack Bowers
Published: May 21, 2017
Read "Song of the Silver Geese" CD/LP/Track Review Song of the Silver Geese
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: December 18, 2017
Read "Rome" CD/LP/Track Review Rome
by Karl Ackermann
Published: July 18, 2017