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Il Sogno: Graduation

Dan McClenaghan BY

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Il Sogno: Graduation
The group Il Sogno, a piano trio that employs a Wurlitzer piano along with an OB-6 synthesizer, steps back and forth over the line of melodic pop sensibilities into accessible jazz and soundtrack atmospherics to orchestral and sweeping soundscaping, presenting long and winding accompaniments to a surreal dreams—pretty in one tune, challenging and out there on the next. Birthday (Gotta Let It Out, 2017) is the band's first album. The follow-up—the disc in hand—is Graduation.

The Polish-Danish-Italian trio—that includes Polish bassist Tomo Jacobson (now based in Denmark), Danish drummer Oliver Laumann and Italian keyboardist Emanuele Maniscalco—opens their sophomore outing with Milton Nascimento's "Um Gosto De Sol," with an ominous arco bass drone shot through with a slow motion keyboard sparkle. The trio takes the tune at a patient pace, wringing every drop of beauty out of the simple melody as it moves from a dark opening into a bright sunrise, rhythmically and melodically.

"Il Ritorno," with composition credits to Il Sogno, is probably a group improvisation. It sounds like a wee hours walk through the streets, danger lurking in dark corners, and "Croatian Jungle," written by drummer Laumann, brings in an optimistic vibe, with its memorable melody and beautiful resonance.

The eleven minute "Shakers," another group improv, goes in a much different direction. Industrial rock? Doomsday/heavy metal jazz? Horror movie soundtrack? Who knows. Then the trio visits Alice Coltrane's "Turiya Ramakrishna," from the harpist/pianist's 1970 album Ptah, The El Daoud (Impulse!), creating a dense yet ghostly and reverent seven minutes of sound.

Though the group offers up a stylistic array of tunes in an echo-drenched, beyond-this-Earth mode, it maintains start-to-finish cohesion, in spite of the different styles on compositions. Graduation clocks in at a generous seventy-eight minutes of appealingly modern music that never wears out its welcome.

Track Listing

Un Gosto De Sol; Il Ritorno; Croatian Jungle; Pick a Card, Any Card; Shakers; Turiya & Ramakrishna; Strings; Longings; XII; Hope; Western Theme; Layers; Ostinato; Radio Free Brescia; Theme From Sweet Pea.


Tomo Jacobson: bass, acoustic; Emanuele Maniscalco: drums; Oliver Laumann: drums.

Additional Instrumentation

Emanuele Maniscaco: Wurlitzer piano, effects, maracas (1).

Album information

Title: Graduation | Year Released: 2021 | Record Label: Gotta Let It Out

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