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Giuseppe Magagnino: After The Rain

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Giuseppe Magagnino: After The Rain
With a background in both jazz and classical music, Giuseppe Magagnino brings us his second album, After The Rain. This follows on from My Inner Child (2021, GleAM Records) and showcases the Italian pianist's artistic evolution in solo, trio and orchestral formats. His classical background is particularly strong having performed with the Prague String Orchestra, the Rome Philharmonics and the String Quartet of the Teatro alla Scala in Milan. On the jazz side, he founded the Mag Trio and has performed alongside Dee Dee Bridgewater, Mike Stern and the James Taylor Quartet.

There are two Magagnino compositions that feature his trio with the ARTeM String Orchestra, conducted by Alessandro Quarta. The first, "Dancing with Shadows," originally featured in solo piano format on My Inner Child. Here it is transformed with strings that pulse and then swirl before a flowing piano melody and a fast bass break from Luca Alemanno. Vladimir Kostadinovic's drums pick things up and the swirling strings return to close an engaging track. The second piece with strings is the title track and is less successful, the lush strings and rock drumming are intrusive and do little to embellish Magagnino's inventive piano break.

All three of the solo piano tracks are covers. Magagnino shows his subtlety of touch in an engagingly phrased version of Thelonius Monk's, "Ask Me Now." There is a bluesy version of The Beatles' song, "Blackbird." The third cover is an inspired choice, an imaginative and stylish version of Radiohead's "No Surprises."

That leaves four tracks in trio format and it is here, perhaps, that Magagnino shines brightest. George and Ira Gershwin's "But Not For Me" is given an intelligent contemporary makeover. A repeating piano and bass riff, subtle timing changes and updated note placements make this cover a real success. Duke Jordan's catchy "Jordu" is played faster than the original and immediately has the feel of a track from the 1950s. The tune is cleverly deconstructed with inventive piano and features a fast bass break from Alemanno. "Aftermidnight" is a flowing gospel-infused Magagnino composition. Kostadinovic and Alemanno provide impetus and drive as the piano swings in neat runs. Piano and bass combine over brushwork on another Magagnino composition, "My Prayer."

This is an elegant and entertaining album offering elements of classical, hard bop and gospel in a variety of formats. Magagnino is skilled at the re-interpretation of standards, making small changes and revising phrasing. Alemanno and Kostadinovic are solid in providing creative texture and pacing.

Track Listing

Dancing With Shadows; But Not For Me; Blackbird; My Prayer; Jordu; Aftermidnight; Ask Me Now; After The Rain; No Surprises.

Personnel

Additional Instrumentation

ARTeM String Orchestra.

Album information

Title: After The Rain | Year Released: 2023 | Record Label: GleAM Records


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