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Stefano Travaglini: Ellipse

Dan McClenaghan By

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Set up some studio time. Step into the studio. Sit down at the piano. Let your muse take you where she will. That's how pianist Stefano Travaglini rolled for the recording of Ellipse.

Solo jazz piano, free improvisation especially, has proven itself over the years a difficult artist endeavor. Consider the modern masters: Keith Jarrett, Matthew Shipp, Satoko Fujii, and the master of them all, Cecil Taylor—all players who have consistently excelled at the alone-with-the-piano mode of expression. What do they have in common? An ability to immerse themselves—body and soul—inside the vast possibilities of eighty-eight ivories, with the highest level of virtuosity and the knack for infusing their solo art with their own idiosyncratic personal essences.

Stefano Travaglini isn't, at this point in his journey, in a league with those genius-level players. But Ellipse says he may be on his way.

This hour-long rumination boasts deep roots in the European classical tradition, hints folk music perhaps, an introspective examination of jazz and certainly the essence of the musical persona of Travaglini himself.

The pianist has crafted a suite-like, hour-long celebration of the piano sound—introspective, searching, subtle in its joy, serious in its execution, and unfailingly beautiful, from the opener, the oddly titled and quizzical-sounding "The Importance of Fishing," through the majestic, un-Monkian-like "Monk's Mood—Presences," on to gorgeouly melancholy closer, Goodbye, for Now (Meditation).

A worthy entry into the solo piano genre of jazz.

Track Listing: The Importance of Fishing; Life; The Flowering Season; Persistence; Monk's Mood / Presences; Looking Back; Intermezzo; Softly, as in Morning Sunrise; Good Bye, for Now (Meditation).

Personnel: Stefano Travaglini: piano.

Title: Ellipse | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Notami Jazz

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