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Paolo Fresu/Richard Galliano/Jan Lundgren: Mare Nostrum

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This magical debonair international trio reminds us once again of the porosity of walls between nations and fluidity of musical styles, as it flits through an enticing shadow world that recaptures Paris in the 1950s. Swedish Jan Lundgren's pointillist piano blends dreamily with Richard Galliano's poignant squeezebox and Sardinian Paolo Fresu's acerbic, haunted trumpet to raise the shades of Edith Piaf, Jacques Brel, Miles Davis, Charles Trenet, Maurice Ravel and Josephine Baker.

Waltzes, of course, are numerous, swirling and dreamy affairs that evoke smoky cabarets, midnight quais, Seine-side trysts. Unisons between Galliano and Fresu are mesmerizingly resonant, especially with flugelhorn or Harmon-muted trumpet (the eerie, soundtrack-destined "Sonia's Nightmare"). Filling out the program's sweeter side are tunes by Jobim (echoing Harold Arlen's "Over The Rainbow"), Trenet (that 'translates' to "I Wish You Love") and a semi-classic spin on Ravel's pristine "Mother Goose."

Any improvising? Why, yes, a little. Lundgren nips a tasty solo on his "Years Ahead." There's a bit of stretch time for Fresu and Galliano often, too, more poignant for lasting just a chorus. The communal warmth and understanding between these three expresses itself as earthy, organic and timeless. They achieve—with apparent effortlessness and grace—a session with Greek proportions of heart, mind and spirit: rather pretty, pretty moving, moving right along. Their sea—warmly, reassuringly Mediterranean—absolutely improves on second dips.

Track Listing: Mare Nostrum; Principessa; Eu Nao Existo Sem Voce; The Seagull; Que reste-t-il de nos amours?; Years Ahead; Sonia's Nightmare; Chat Pitre; Valzer del Ritorno; Open Your Mind; Liberty Waltz; Mio Mehmet, forse il destino m'impedira di rivederti; Ma Mere L'Oye; Para Jobim; Varvindar Friska.

Personnel: Paolo Fresu: trumpet, flugelhorn; Richard Galliano: accordion, bandoneon; Jan Lundgren: piano.

Title: Mare Nostrum | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: ACT Music

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