Boldly innovative pianist Sylvie Courvoisier and her trio, on the brilliant and emotive D'Agala, interpret nine intimate and impressionistic musical tributes. Each original composition is intricately constructed around motifs inspired by the individual dedicatee and has plenty of room within it for spontaneous expression.
For insitance, "Bourgeois's Spider (for Louise Bourgeois)" invokes the famous sculptures with Courvoisier's percussive pianism hovering over the band's percolating rhythms. Piano's single. hesitant notes cascade over the sidemen's darkly shimmering sonic web.
Meanwhile the angular "Éclats for Ornette (for Ornette Coleman)" embraces dissonance with exuberance while hinting at the blues. Drummer Kenny Wollesen bisects the tune with his thunderous solo. Courvoisier's crisp and short refrains coalesce around bassist Drew Gress' resonant thuds and Wollesen's sharp beats into a dynamic and crystalline melody.
Gress mixes somber tones with lyrical phrases for an eloquent improvisation on the title track dedicated to the late pianist Geri Allen. Courvoisier explores the entire range of her instrument in a wistful and poignant soliloquy while Wollesen maintains a reserved and mournful ambience with his chiming and tolling percussion.
Similarly, "South Side Rules (for John Abercrombie)" serves as a tender eulogy for the recently departed guitarist. Gress' somber and erudite bass set the wistful mood. Courvoisier's contemplative lines contribute a spiritual edge to the piece while Wollesen's restless, splashing drums add a sense of urgency to it.
In contrast the energetic and fast paced "Pierino Porcospino (for Charlie)" has the feel of western classical divertissimo with touches of whimsy. Gress' thumping chords showcase virtuosity and elegance while Wollesen demonstrates lithe effervescence with his brushes. Courvoisier's extemporization is vibrant, intelligent and breathtakingly agile.
D'Agala is yet another imaginative addition to Courvoisier's discography. The superb balance between individual and group performances and the fluid transitions from stimulating writing to thrilling adlib explorations make the album simultaneously moving and provocative.
Track Listing: Imprint Double; Bourgeois’s Spider; Eclats for Ornette; Simone; Pierino Porcospino; D’Agala; Circumbent;
Fly Whisk; South Side Rules.
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