All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

4

Francesco Turrisi: Grigio

Ian Patterson By

Sign in to view read count
For pianist Francesco Turrisi 'old' music is a redundant term. In the Dublin-based Italian's world all music exists in a continuum. Turrisi's debut, Si Dolce e il Tormento (Diatribe Records, 2009) may be the only example of the mediaeval theorbo—a long-necked lute— in a jazz setting. Fotografia (Diatribe Records, 2011)—a series of piano trio improvisations—veered between free-jazz abstraction and Mediterranean and Brazilian blues lyricism. For Songs of Experience (Taquin Records, 2013), Turrisi eschewed bass in favor of Fulvio Sigurtà's trumpet and flugelhorn on highly melodic, minimalist pieces that drew equally from classical and folk traditions. On Grigio, Turrisi adds Italian baroque, traditional Irish and Hebrew song to an already colorful palette.

Common to all Turrisi's recordings to a greater or lesser degree is the baroque/early music vein that runs through his music. The novelty here, however, is Turrisi's employment of a vocalist. Three numbers sung quite beautifully by Clara Sanabras, "Che Si Puo Fare?," "Augellin" and "Canzonette spiritual sopra la nanna" illustrate the melodic strength and lyric depth of seventeenth century Italian laments. Turrisi has played these songs with L'Arpeggiata, but the rhythmic impetus of bassist Dan Bodwell and drummer Sean Carpio combine with Turrisi's tumbling jazz lines to fashion an utterly contemporary frame for music whose themes of love and anguish—and the indifference of the world—are timeless.

Three traditional Irish tunes interpreted by sean-nós singer Róisín Elsafty emphasize the universality of the blues. "Elenaor a run," a seventeenth century tune, showcases Elsafty's gorgeous voice, with Turrisi a subtle presence on piano and Ebow. "Sile Beag Ni Chonnallain"'s lament and the haunting lullaby that is "Seoithin Seo" could bring a tear to a hangman's eye. All three songs are on Elsafty's CD Máhíonn tú liom bí liom (Vertical Records, 2007)—highly recommended for anyone wishing to dip a toe into traditional Irish song. Turrisi's outfit Tarab blends Irish and world folk music but these tunes with Elsafty are the closest in spirit to the Irish tradition that he's committed to record so far.

Turrisi's unwavering circular motif forms the backbone of the impressionistic title track. Zohar Fresco's frame drum provides a low-key pulse while cellist Kate Ellis and soprano saxophonist Nick Roth—both of Tarab—conjure dreamily harmonic lines. Saxophonist John Zorn's "Hadasha" also embarks from an unrelenting piano ostinato, though animalistic cries from cello and saxophone lend an edgier, more abstract ambiance. "Maoz trsur" is a tradional Hebrew song arranged by Roth; from its minimalist piano and bass intro, Fresco's wordless voice is joined by fluttering alto saxophone and subdued cello in gentle, prayer-like union. The simple melodic lines of Turrisi's self-penned "Tu Ridi" bend to a lilting Arabic influence.

Turrisi's piano virtuosity takes a back seat to his deft treatments of folk songs that span a millennium. On the surface, there may seem to be little that unites Italian baroque song with Hebrew hymn or Irish lament, but manifest in Turrisi's arrangements is the essential human spirit common to verse and music across time and cultures. Another striking addition to Turrisi's short but highly impressive discography.

Track Listing: Che si puo fare; Grigio; Eleanor s run; Hadasha; Augellin; Maoz tsur; Sile Beag Ni Chonnallain; Canzonette spiritual sopra la nanna; Tu ridi; Seoithin Seo.

Personnel: Francesco Turrisi: piano, Ebow (3); Nick Roth: soprano saxophone; Kate Ellis: cello; Dan Bodwell: double bass; Sean Carpio: drums; Clara Sanabras: vocals (1, 5, 8); Róisín Elsafty: vocals (3, 7, 10); Zohar Fresco (frame drums, percussion, vocals (2, 4, 6, 9).

Title: Grigio | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Diatribe Records

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Attaccati li Tricci

Attaccati li Tricci

Francesco Turrisi
Fotografia

CD/LP/Track Review
Book Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Interviews
Read more articles
Northern Migrations

Northern Migrations

Taquin Records
2018

buy
Grigio

Grigio

Diatribe Records
2014

buy
Grigio

Grigio

Diatribe Records
2013

buy
Songs of Experience

Songs of Experience

Taquin Records
2013

buy
 

Fotografia

Polystar / Libra
2012

buy
Fotographia

Fotographia

Diatribe Records
2011

buy

Related Articles

Read Seymour Reads The Constitution! CD/LP/Track Review
Seymour Reads The Constitution!
by Doug Collette
Published: May 23, 2018
Read Colours of Sound CD/LP/Track Review
Colours of Sound
by Jack Bowers
Published: May 23, 2018
Read A Blast From The Past CD/LP/Track Review
A Blast From The Past
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 23, 2018
Read Rhapsody CD/LP/Track Review
Rhapsody
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 23, 2018
Read You're Driving Me Crazy CD/LP/Track Review
You're Driving Me Crazy
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: May 23, 2018
Read Dirt...And More Dirt CD/LP/Track Review
Dirt...And More Dirt
by Karl Ackermann
Published: May 22, 2018
Read "Double Bass" CD/LP/Track Review Double Bass
by John Eyles
Published: April 7, 2018
Read "Get Up And Go" CD/LP/Track Review Get Up And Go
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 2, 2017
Read "The Willisau Concert" CD/LP/Track Review The Willisau Concert
by John Sharpe
Published: October 24, 2017
Read "Discussions" CD/LP/Track Review Discussions
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 20, 2017
Read "The Falling Dream" CD/LP/Track Review The Falling Dream
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 2, 2018
Read "Lifelike" CD/LP/Track Review Lifelike
by Roger Farbey
Published: March 31, 2018