Home » Jazz Articles » Filippo Vignato/Hank Roberts: Ghost Dance

7
Album Review

Filippo Vignato/Hank Roberts: Ghost Dance

By

Sign in to view read count
Filippo Vignato/Hank Roberts: Ghost Dance
Usually the watering hole comes after a gig, but there would have been enough wine to float a ship at this concert by cellist Hank Roberts and trombonist Filippo Vignato, held as it was in the Vigne di Zamò Winery in North-Eastern Italy. The interplay between the veteran American and the younger Italian on these nine originals is so finely tuned, so intuitive, as to suggest total sobriety, at least at the time of the recording. Ghost Dance is their second collaboration following Pipe Dream (CAM Jazz, 2018)—an absorbing quintet outing with vibraphonist Pasquale Mirra, pianist Giorgio Pacorig and drummer Zeno di Rossi—though this is their first as a duo.

Each musician lends their own compositions, with co-writing credits on three tracks. Improvisation is a key part of the equation, though the challenge is to figure out where freedom navigates episodic form. Cellist and trombonist are both credited as employing electronics, though if so, they do so with the lightest of touch. Vignato, though, needs no tricks to make his trombone sound like a didgeridoo or puttering static on "Carla." Shifting from woozy minimalist textures to greater rhythmic impulse, and from ghostly abstraction to chamber elegance, this atmospheric opener sets the template, to a large degree, for the performance as a whole.

The musicians delve into the timbral possibilities of their respective instruments, with Roberts' vocals breaking the instrumental mould on a couple of numbers. On the rhythmically repetitive "Remembering Then/Now," Roberts' wailing voice seems to emanate from the back of the wine cellar, at the furthest point from the mics. The title track, by contrast, sees the American embrace the self-penned lyrics, and whilst his voice is no great shakes it is distinctly his own. His wordless harmonizing with Vignato, on the other hand, lifts the music to another realm.

"Necklace" is a song within a song; rustling percussive sounds, randomly plucked notes, creaking strings and breathy fluttering give way abruptly to a chamberesque dialog of melancholy vein. Whether luxuriating in essentially the same melodic line, as on the simple yet arresting "Lost Found," or taking circuitous routes to the final destination, as on "Sherwood Z"—where sombre abstraction morphs into gentle waltz—the duo's conversations command attention. The greatest drama is reserved for last, with "Encore. Here, the tense, shifting patterns of Robert's sawing arco and Vignato's pulsating riffing allow for each musician to improvise over constantly churning rhythms. In tune with the unpredictable trajectory of the duo's hour-long journey, the rhythmic intervals lengthen, dissipate and eventually finish on a drone-like plateau of quite serenity.

The fine acoustics of the Vigne di Zamò Winery and the high production values of this CD are important actors in the music. In the end, though, it's the openness and mutual trust in Roberts and Vignato's play, where small and grand gestures carry equal weight, that makes for such a rewarding listening experience.

Track Listing

Carla; Remembering Then/Now; Necklace; Forest Breath; Sherwood Z; Ghost Dance; First Hit; Lost Found; Encore.

Personnel

Hank Roberts: cello, vocal, electronics. Filippo Vignato: trombone, electronics.

Album information

Title: Ghost Dance | Year Released: 2019 | Record Label: CAM Jazz


FOR THE LOVE OF JAZZ
Get the Jazz Near You newsletter All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.

WE NEED YOUR HELP
To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.

Post a comment about this album

Tags

More

Popular

Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and includes upcoming jazz events near you.