Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

21

Jean-Louis Matinier / Marco Ambrosini: Inventio

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
By this point heading for longstanding status with ECM Records, it's always intriguing to follow an artist through the label's discography, as one relationship seems to lead, inevitably, to another. While French accordionist Jean-Louis Matinier made his first appearance with the label on fellow Frenchman Louis Sclavis' Dans La Nuit (2000), it was his tenure with Tunisian oudist Anouar Brahem's Le Pas de Chat Noire (2002) trio, also heard on the 2006 follow-up Le Voyage de Sahar, that seems to have led to his working with that trio's third member, Francois Couturier, on two of the French pianist's "Tarkovsky Trilogy" recordings: the first, Nostalghia: Song for Tarkovsky; and its 2011 conclusion, Tarkovsky Quartet.

It's taken nearly 15 years, but after three recordings for Enja that ranged from his 2001 duo recording with virtuosic five-string acoustic bassist Renaud Garcia-Fons, Fuera, to the Transatlantic meeting of Matinier with American pianist/harmonicist Howard Levy and German clarinetist Michael Riessler on Silver & Black(2009), the accordionist finally has an album under his own name on ECM, and a fine record it is.

A duo date with Marco Ambrosini—the nyckelharpa player heard on Baroque harpist Giovanna Pessi's similarly inspired collaboration with Norwegian singer Susanna Wallumrod, If Grief Could Wait (2012), as well as on Baroque guitarist Rolf Lislevand's two ECM New Series recordings, Nuove Musiche (2006) and the equally sublime Diminuto (2009)—Inventio further stretches the boundaries of both instruments, but in particular Ambrosini's Swedish keyed fiddle. A bowed and plucked instrument with sixteen strings—three played regularly and a fourth, typically a drone string, rarely touched, with the remaining twelve acting as resonating strings that vibrate sympathetically, and a series of keys attached to tangents which, when depressed, act as frets on the neck of the instrument that change the strings' pitch—the nyckelharpa is rarely heard outside the purview of traditional Swedish folk music but, in the hands of the Italian Ambrosini, clearly possesses the potential for far greater possibilities.

If anything, the music of Inventio defies any such reductionist categorizations as style...or time. In addition to original material written individually by Matinier and Ambrosini, this recital also features one collaboratively credited improvisation "Tasteggiata"—a fiery piece where the percussive sounds of Matinier's right hand on the buttons of his accordion are matched by the clicking of Ambrosini's tangents, before a dervish-like melody emerges that, bolstered by Matinier's keyboard arpeggios, ebbs and flows dynamically to a series of climactic peaks and valleys before coming to an abrupt conclusion.

Inventio also draws from more archaic sources, including a melancholic piece from the brief life and repertoire of 18th century Italian composer/violinist/organist Giovanni Battista Pergolesi ("Qui Est Homo"). "Praeludium From Rosary Sonata No. 1," by late 17th/early 18th century Bohemian/Austrian violinist and composer Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber, is a solo feature for Ambrosini that is, perhaps, his most commanding performance of the 47-minute set—an interpretation of music that was, for its time, truly groundbreaking in its virtuosic demands—ones that had never before been made of violinists—but is all the more impressive in Ambrosini's hands, his adaption for nyckelharpa truly demonstrating the vast breadth and potential of his instrument.

The original material is no less provocative. Matinier's "Wiosna" blends Parisian imagery with the feeling of more fervent forward motion, while Ambrosini's "Basse Dance" (the album's longest track at a little over six minutes) juxtaposes the movement suggested by its title with a broad emotional cross-section as it travels from dark to light and back again, with numerous in-between stops and moments of gentle elegance rapidly contrasting passages of more vivid drama.

Two pieces from Johann Sebastian Bach—a nyckelharpa adaptation of his "Presto From Sonata in G Minor (BWV 1001)," followed by "Inventio 4 (BWV 775)," a duet of similarly stunning contrapuntal beauty, with Matinier and Ambrosini twisting and turning in and around one another, periodically coming together in glorious consonance only to divide once again—contrasts with "Siciliènne," a relatively modern piece by 20th century French composer/accordionist André Astier that closes the recording on a haunting but beautiful note.

Throughout, both Matinier and Ambrosini use improvisation as a means of expanding their collective language, it often becoming difficult to differentiate what's on the written page and what's in the immediate minds of these two remarkable performers. And if both players' work on other ECM recordings has been impressive enough to make the prospect of their working together one filled with limitless possibilities, the promise delivered by Inventio is so rich in its rewards, so unexpectedly multifaceted and multifarious as to make it album of constant surprise, delight...and, yes, invention.

Track Listing: Wiosna; Tasteggiata; Basse Dance; Szybko; Presto; Inventio 4; Taïga; Qui Est Homo; Praeludium; Oksu; Hommage; Kochanie Moje; Balinese; Tasteggiata 2; Siciliènne.

Personnel: Jean-Louis Matinier: accordion; Marco Ambrosini: nyckelharpa.

Title: Inventio | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: ECM Records

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read Everything's OK CD/LP/Track Review
Everything's OK
by Doug Collette
Published: December 16, 2018
Read Making Bones, Taking Draughts, Bearing Unstable Millstones Pridefully, Idiotically, Prosaically CD/LP/Track Review
Making Bones, Taking Draughts, Bearing Unstable Millstones...
by Mark Corroto
Published: December 16, 2018
Read Legacy CD/LP/Track Review
Legacy
by Doug Collette
Published: December 16, 2018
Read Other Life Forms CD/LP/Track Review
Other Life Forms
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 16, 2018
Read Live At Moods CD/LP/Track Review
Live At Moods
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 16, 2018
Read Runner in the Rain CD/LP/Track Review
Runner in the Rain
by Troy Dostert
Published: December 15, 2018
Read "Presence" CD/LP/Track Review Presence
by Geannine Reid
Published: January 17, 2018
Read "New Road: Iowa Memoirs" CD/LP/Track Review New Road: Iowa Memoirs
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 26, 2018
Read "First Impressions" CD/LP/Track Review First Impressions
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 25, 2018
Read "Miles Davis & John Coltrane - The Final Tour: The Bootleg Series, Vol. 6" CD/LP/Track Review Miles Davis & John Coltrane - The Final Tour: The...
by Doug Collette
Published: April 3, 2018
Read "Just The Way We Are" CD/LP/Track Review Just The Way We Are
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 27, 2017
Read "Meeting of Minds" CD/LP/Track Review Meeting of Minds
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 26, 2018