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Emilia Vancini: And If You Fall, You Fall

C. Michael Bailey By

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Emilia Vancini: And If You Fall, You Fall
There is a post-modern, deconstructive spirit in music existing within the anabolic-catabolic dichotomy of composition and performance. This spirit manifests in the same impetus that compels inquisitive minds to take things apart and put them back together differently, if not improving them, then revealing, from a different cleave, some previously unseen aspect of the whole. A master of such is pianist Martial Solal, who has spent a career casually dropping notes here and there, stringing them together, slowly, into a Great American Standard. Examples include Live At The Village Vanguard: I Can't Give You Anything But Love (CAM Jazz, 2009) and Star Eyes 1983 (Hatology, 2009), which he made with another such master, Lee Konitz.

Part of this pioneer continuum are Italian vocalist Emilia Vancini and pianist Augusto Pirodda, who seamlessly evolve this type of musical exploration on And If You Fall, You Fall. The pair have both a plan and a theme. Nine standards are bookended by a tenth, a plainsong a cappella rendering of "Some Other Time" opening the disc and continuing into the disc's coda, completing its circular trajectory. Vancini's voice is slightly accented giving the music the smoky aroma of European's assimilating American Jazz during the German Weimar period. The song was is chosen and programmed into the recital.

When the duo kicks things off, they do so skipping notes off of each sacred melody they address. "Your My Everything" is all corners and crannies, containing jewels of illumination. Vancini and Pirodda accomplish the same, extending it on a schizoform "On The Sunnyside of the Street," presented as abrupt starts and stops, like running in a crowd. Cole Porter's "I Love You" was released as a single and may be the most traditional of all the performances herein. "If I Were a Bell," and "There is No Greater Love" are both transformed thusly.

"Ruby, My Dear," is all John Cage in the introduction with Vancini coming from the depths of Cage's opium dream: floating in and out, stretching, expanding, contracting, before blissful twilight. Pirodda, in his solos, finds what swing is in alternate dimensions. The showstopper has to be the Gershwin Brothers "But Not For Me." Pirodda raises both elbows in the introduction with Vancini chasing Chet Baker from the room with her jagged phrasing and A Clockwork Orange melody reprogramming. Vocal offerings like this are dangerous and uncommon, with the successful one's being most rare. This recording is such a diamond. Let's watch it sparkle.

Track Listing

Some Other Time; You're My Everything; When I Fall In Love; On The Sunny Side Of The Street; I Love You; If I Were A Bell; Ruby, My Dear; There Is No Greater Love; But Not For Me; Just Friends; Some Other Time (reprise)

Personnel

Emilia Vancini: voice / vocals; Augusto Pirodda: piano.

Album information

Title: And If You Fall, You Fall | Year Released: 2020 | Record Label: Espira

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