All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

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...

65

Stefano Bollani: Joy in Spite of Everything

Karl Ackermann By

Sign in to view read count
Largely unacquainted as a unit, the quintet that formed around Italian pianist Stefano Bollani for Joy in Spite of Everything connects with the empathetic familiarity of a long-standing group. The leader—a professional pianist since the age of fifteen—has crossed over most every genre from classical to avant-garde and with equal proficiency. While his early encounters with fellow Italian trumpeter Enrico Rava set him a course for jazz, he has sharpened those skills in the diverse company of saxophonists Gato Barbieri and Phil Woods, guitarist Pat Metheny, free jazz pioneer drummer Han Bennink and many others. The creative sense that Bollani brings to the performance of his original compositions transcends music; it is his imagination crafted by the individual and collective skills of an extraordinary group of artists.

The calypso opening—"Easy Healing"—defies any urge to remain stationary and recalls the Brazilian style that Bollani and Rava so beautifully exploited on The Third Man (ECM, 2007). It's immediately clear that the interaction between Bollani and saxophonist Mark Turner is exceptionally empathetic. The two had first worked together on Rava's New York Days (ECM, 2009) and the dynamic that the trumpeter and pianist demonstrated then, are in line with musical relationship between Bollani and Turner here. Bollani's expressiveness pairs nicely with Turner's incisive searching quality while the prolific drummer Morten Lund's meticulous pacing propels the piece. It's a lively introduction to the individual and group mechanisms of the quintet and while everyone gets solo time, bassist Jesper Bodilsen has a particularly nice go of it. He and Lund are also part of Bollani's working trio.

As the title of the album would imply, joy is only one side of the story here and the tempo and mood change dramatically with "No Pope No Party." By no means a somber piece, it has more of a traditional swing at its core, taken nicely off-kilter by Turner and Bollani's improvisations. Guitarist Bill Frisell's solo moderates the tempo and provides the segue for Bollani to jump back in and slowly rebuild the tempo while changing the nature of the piece to something more abstract. Lund, in an extended trade off with Bollani, brings the piece back to its original theme in a very satisfying exercise. "Las hortensias"—initially a piano trio piece—is a meditative ballad featuring more fine work from Bodilsen. Turner joins in late adding some soulful lines and characteristically utilizing the full range of the tenor. Another trio-plus number, "Ismene" features the late arrival of Frisell's crystalline guitar adding mysterious, pensive complexity. The title track closes the collection much the way it began, with an upbeat freshness and a spirit that pleasantly brings the package together.

Joy in Spite of Everything says a lot about the kind of composer Bollani is and his experimental nature in the presentation of ideas. This collection plays to the strengths of the quintet primarily by not always viewing them in the context of that configuration. Bollani implements the full variety of group formations throughout and takes advantage of the impact of introducing either Turner or Frisell unexpectedly to an otherwise smaller setting. It's a winning effect, adding layers of complexity to very lyrical foundations. Joy in Spite of Everything is a more a joy because of everything Bollani and company bring to the table. As often happens, Bollani—a bona fide star in Italy and much of Europe—is widely unrecognized in the US. Hopefully this alliance, with Turner and Frisell's brand equity, will change that.

Track Listing: Easy Healing; No Pope No Party; Alobar e Kudra; Las hortensias; Vale; Teddy; Ismene; Tales From The Time Loop; Joy In Spite Of Everything.

Personnel: Stefano Bollani: piano; Mark Turner: tenor saxophone; Bill Frisell: guitar; Jesper Bodilsen: double-bass; Morten Lund: drums.

Title: Joy in Spite of Everything | 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.

View All Events

Create Widget | Open RSS Feed

Date Detail Price
Nov22Thu
10:30
Michael Tilson Thomas, Renée Fleming, Stefano Bollani, Ian Bostridge, Thomas Adès, Radu Lupu, Marielle Labeque, Orchestre De Paris, Igor Levit, Michael Sanderling, Javier Perianes, Jean-claude Ameisen, Thomas Ospital, Pierre Bleuse, Yuja Wang
Philharmonie De Paris
Paris, France
Nov28Wed
20:30
Michael Tilson Thomas, Stefano Bollani, Ian Bostridge, Thomas Adès, Kristian Bezuidenhout, Matthias Goerne, Janine Jansen, Orchestre De Paris, Daniel Harding, Alexander Melnikov, Jean-guihen Queyras, Barbara Hannigan, Isabelle Faust, Andrew Staples, Chris
Philharmonie De Paris
Paris, France
Jan17Wed
20:00
Michael Tilson Thomas, Stefano Bollani, Ian Bostridge, Thomas Adès, Matthias Goerne, Orchestre De Paris, Igor Levit, Michael Sanderling, Albina Shagimuratova, Pablo Heras-casado, Pierre Bleuse
Philharmonie De Paris
Paris, France
Jan19Fri
20:00
Michael Tilson Thomas, Stefano Bollani, Ian Bostridge, Thomas Adès, Matthias Goerne, Orchestre De Paris, Igor Levit, Michael Sanderling, Albina Shagimuratova, Pablo Heras-casado, Pierre Bleuse
Philharmonie De Paris
Paris, France
Jan23Tue
20:30
Michael Tilson Thomas, Stefano Bollani, Ian Bostridge, Thomas Adès, Radu Lupu, Matthias Goerne, Orchestre De Paris, Paavo Järvi, Igor Levit, Michael Sanderling, Javier Perianes, Albina Shagimuratova, Pablo Heras-casado, Thomas Ospital, Pierre Bleuse, Yuja
Philharmonie De Paris
Paris, France
Jan24Wed
20:00
Michael Tilson Thomas, Stefano Bollani, Ian Bostridge, Thomas Adès, Radu Lupu, Orchestre De Paris, Paavo Järvi, Cristian Mandeal, Igor Levit, Michael Sanderling, Javier Perianes, Thomas Ospital, Pierre Bleuse, Yuja Wang
Philharmonie De Paris
Paris, France
Jan30Tue
20:30
Michael Tilson Thomas, Stefano Bollani, Ian Bostridge, Thomas Adès, Kristian Bezuidenhout, Matthias Goerne, Janine Jansen, Orchestre De Paris, Daniel Harding, Antoine Tamestit, Barbara Hannigan, Isabelle Faust, Andrew Staples, Christianne Stotijn, Igor Le
Philharmonie De Paris
Paris, France

Related Articles

Read Lebroba CD/LP/Track Review
Lebroba
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 22, 2018
Read The Lullaby Project CD/LP/Track Review
The Lullaby Project
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 22, 2018
Read Jazz In Detroit / Strata Concert Gallery / 46 Selden CD/LP/Track Review
Jazz In Detroit / Strata Concert Gallery / 46 Selden
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 22, 2018
Read Intimate Adversary CD/LP/Track Review
Intimate Adversary
by Chris Mosey
Published: November 22, 2018
Read Songs from the Alan Lomax Collection CD/LP/Track Review
Songs from the Alan Lomax Collection
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 22, 2018
Read Pendulum CD/LP/Track Review
Pendulum
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: November 21, 2018
Read "Life I Know" CD/LP/Track Review Life I Know
by Roger Farbey
Published: November 4, 2018
Read "Second Gathering" CD/LP/Track Review Second Gathering
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: November 20, 2018
Read "Don't Play With Love" CD/LP/Track Review Don't Play With Love
by Phillip Woolever
Published: May 1, 2018
Read "A Journey" CD/LP/Track Review A Journey
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 15, 2018
Read "Daqa'iq Tudaiq" CD/LP/Track Review Daqa'iq Tudaiq
by James Fleming
Published: November 4, 2018
Read "Borderline Inspirations" CD/LP/Track Review Borderline Inspirations
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: September 14, 2018