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Giovanni Guidi Trio: City of Broken Dreams

Dan McClenaghan By

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Italian pianist Giovanni Guidi's ECM Records leader debut, City of Broken Dreams, fits in as a very fine addition to the label's ongoing introduction of a new guard of the art of the piano trio, European style. Recent entries into that elite club include Benedikt Jahnel's Equilibrium (2012), Stefano Battaglia's The River of Anyder (2011), and Stefano Bollani's Stone in the Water (2009), and The Marcin Wasilewski Trio's Faithful (2011)—excellent examples all, of piano players of a reflective approach, with deft touches, interactive trios and searching ways of taking on the form, as well as unabashed affinities for sonic beauty.

Guidi debuted on ECM, as a sideman, on Enrico Rava's Tribe (2011), which is, perhaps, the Italian trumpeter's finest recorded outing, due in no small part, to his rhythm section, headed up by the pianist. With City of Broken Dreams, the young pianist gets his chance to step out front— in the context of a very democratic piano trio—with a set that stands amongst the best of ECM's recent piano trio outings.

Guidi's compatriots here are the recently prolific (ECM-wise) bassist Thomas Morgan—who has contributed to Polish trumpeter Tomasz Stanko's superb Wislawa (2013) and pianist Craig Taborn's edgy and modernistic Chants (2013)—along with Portuguese drummer Joao Lobo, who played on Guidi's earlier Cam Jazz recordings.

The music this trio makes shimmers on the gentle and pensive journey of the opening title tune, explores a stately, calming mood on "Leonie," and then plucks into a prickly intro on "Just One More Time" before Morgan and Joao drift into a timeless reverie, sans piano, until Guidi glides back in with the fairytale melody.

The trio alternates between the pensive and the angular avant-garde, specializing in understatement and intricate interplay. "The Way Some People Live" features a spare and pretty melody underscored by Morgan's perfectly placed notes, Joao's minimalist and almost covert percussion accents, setting a dream-like mood.

It's recordings like the Giovanni Guidi Trio's City of Broken Dreams that are a reminder of the endless potential of the piano trio for offering up unalloyed beauty and intrigue.

Track Listing: City of Broken Dreams; Leonie; Just One More Time; The Forbidden Zone; No Other Possibility; The Way Some People Live; The Impossible Divorce; Late Blue; Ocean View; City of Broken Dreams, var.

Personnel: Giovanni Guidi: piano; Thomas Morgan: double bass; João Lobo: drums.

Title: City of Broken Dreams | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: ECM Records

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