Dave Milligan: Momento

Bruce Lindsay BY

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Dave Milligan: Momento
Momento is a piano trio album, its instrumental line-up of piano, bass and drums being common to many jazz recordings over the decades. But Dave Milligan and his compatriots—bassist Danilo Gallo and drummer U. T. Gandhi—have produced a distinctive and beautiful set of tunes which set this particular piano trio apart from its peers. The explanation is a four-letter word.

Dave Milligan grew up in the Scottish Borders, the beautiful if sometimes bleak landscape that looks south towards England—an upbringing which inspired the dramatic "Made In The Borders." He now lives in Pathhead, a small town outside Edinburgh with a thriving community of musicians. He has collaborated with trumpeter Colin Steele for over two decades and has worked with Art Farmer, Scott Hamilton and Mark Knopfler, among many others. While working with Steele at the Edinburgh Jazz Festival, Milligan met Gallo and Gandhi and decided to record with them, doing so at the famed Artesuono Studio in Udine, during June 2015. Momento is the result of that session and is Milligan's first album since 2008.

From the opening bars of "Going Nowhere" the album is characterized by delicate, considered and sympathetic playing by all three musicians, captured perfectly by engineer Stefano Amerio, best-known for his work for the ECM label. Milligan wrote most of the tunes, including the passionate "(There's) Always Tomorrow," inspired by correspondence between Robert Burns and Agnes McLehose, adapted "Freedom" from "The Bloody Fields Of Flanders" composed by Scots piper John McLellan, and arranged "Parcel Of Rogues" for the trio. Milligan wrote "Sandy's 70th" for his father: a slow, stately and rather lovely tune which Milligan plays solo.

The four-letter word at the hear of this music? Folk. Alongside a lengthy career in jazz, Milligan has an equally impressive career in the Scottish folk scene, including a collaboration with another Pathhead resident, Karine Polwart. The Scots folk influence pervades this record, adding a plaintive flavor that is rarely apparent in jazz. "Parcel Of Rogues" is the most obvious example of this influence; the song has been known since the early eighteenth century, its lyrics often credited to Robert Burns although an unknown other is most likely responsible. Milligan's jaunty left-hand rhythm might be a little too cheery for a song that tells of Scotland's betrayal by some of its own politicians ("bought and sold for English gold" as the song says) but it is a graceful and melodic interpretation of a beautiful tune.

Track Listing

Going Nowhere; Parcel Of Rogues; (There's) Always Tomorrow; They Said It Was About You; Freedom; Sandy's 70th; Made In The Borders.


Dave Milligan: piano; Danilo Gallo: bass, acoustic; U.T. Gandhi: drums.

Album information

Title: Momento | Year Released: 2020 | Record Label: Self Produced

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