4

Francesco Turrisi: Grigio

Ian Patterson By

Sign in to view read count
Francesco Turrisi: Grigio 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

More Articles

Read Honey And Salt CD/LP/Track Review Honey And Salt
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 22, 2017
Read To the Bone CD/LP/Track Review To the Bone
by Geno Thackara
Published: August 22, 2017
Read Flesh & Bone CD/LP/Track Review Flesh & Bone
by Troy Collins
Published: August 22, 2017
Read Generations CD/LP/Track Review Generations
by Jerome Wilson
Published: August 22, 2017
Read 90 Going On Amazing CD/LP/Track Review 90 Going On Amazing
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 21, 2017
Read Let There Be Life, Love and Laughter CD/LP/Track Review Let There Be Life, Love and Laughter
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: August 21, 2017
Read "Ugly Beauty" CD/LP/Track Review Ugly Beauty
by Nick Davies
Published: July 20, 2017
Read "I Go Back Home: A Story About Hoping And Dreaming" CD/LP/Track Review I Go Back Home: A Story About Hoping And Dreaming
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 21, 2016
Read "Not This Time" CD/LP/Track Review Not This Time
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: March 5, 2017
Read "The Grateful Dead 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition" CD/LP/Track Review The Grateful Dead 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition
by Doug Collette
Published: February 4, 2017
Read "Windmills" CD/LP/Track Review Windmills
by Edward Blanco
Published: March 24, 2017
Read "Nine Dances Of Patrick O’Gonogon" CD/LP/Track Review Nine Dances Of Patrick O’Gonogon
by Duncan Heining
Published: November 25, 2016

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.