9

Monome: Monome

Ian Patterson By

Sign in to view read count
Monome: Monome Monome began life in 2006, but on this Italian trio's debut recording it's effectively a quartet, with German saxophonist Peter Ehwald playing on five of the seven tracks. Ehwald first played with Monome in 2010, and since when their collaborations have become increasingly frequent, to the point that his presence here is an essential ingredient in the mix. The chemistry, whether as a trio or a quartet, is pronounced and borrows from classical, post-bop and more contemporary influences; the circular motifs on the up-tempo numbers are at times suggestive of pianist Christoph Stiefel, and the music bridges the divide between jazz tradition and a more forward-looking approach.

Pianist and chief composer Piergiorgio Pirro's elegant classical lines introduce "Scales," but the ensemble sound soon dissolves into collective improvisation, which builds gradually with churning intensity. A quieter passage, characterized by delicate piano, a simple bass ostinato and deft brush-work emerges from the melee and redirects the quartet to calmer waters before returning to port. "Organ," too, after an urgent unison opening, flits between free passages and quieter introspection. Even in the music's most intense phases, however, there's an underlying sense of control, exerted principally by Pirro's hand. Ehwald's tenor playing on this episodic number swings between wild screeches, strong rhythmic grooves and an unhurried lyricism evocative of saxophonist Wayne Shorter.

Ehwald's "Southbound" is a delightful meditation on melody. Pirro weaves a delicate pattern equally influenced by jazz and classical idioms while bassist Matteo Anelli and drummer Gianpaolo Camplese add subtle shades and percussive accents. Ehwald's purring tenor bookends this intimate, gently probing piano trio dialogue. More grooving is "Anthem," whose bobbing rhythm has a pop-inspired immediacy. The melody shares the quiet power and grace of pianist Abdullah Ibrahim at his most lyrical, an impression further conveyed by Ehwald's resemblance to former Ibrahim saxophonist Carlos Ward on the robust closing section where saxophone and piano unite in almost gospel-inspired celebration.

The blue tonality of Camplese's gently swinging "Koshigaya" is based around a melancholic melody, which Pirro and then Ehwald develop in arresting fashion, providing two of the recordings' best solos. Two slower numbers round out the set. "Catville," a mood piece, possesses a meditative solemnity, but it's not without tension. Pirro and Ehwald's understated yet passionate playing leaves a lasting impression. It would have made a fine closer, but as it is the trio number "Inverno" does the job in a slightly more upbeat manner. Camplese's brushes provide impetus as Pirro once more demonstrates agility and finesse in his hybrid jazz-classical idiom.

There's much to admire in these compositions, whose strong melodic core is instantly gratifying. Those patient enough to go a little deeper into the music will be further rewarded, as there are subtleties aplenty in the contrasting moods and textures, as well as the unfolding dynamics and deeply felt lyricism in the playing. This is a fine debut from a contemporary jazz quartet from whom there's hopefully a lot more to come.


Track Listing: Scales; Organ; Southbound; Anthem; Koshigaya; Catville; Inverno.

Personnel: Peirgiorgio Pirro: piano; Matteo Anelli: double bass; Gianpaolo Camplese: drums; Peter Ehwald: tenor saxophone (2-6).

Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Konnex Records


Related Video

Shop

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles

More Articles

Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark CD/LP/Track Review The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Les Deux Versants Se Regardent CD/LP/Track Review Les Deux Versants Se Regardent
by John Sharpe
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Molto Bene CD/LP/Track Review Molto Bene
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read "Closer To The Sun" CD/LP/Track Review Closer To The Sun
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: January 9, 2017
Read "Three Worlds: Music From Woolf Works" CD/LP/Track Review Three Worlds: Music From Woolf Works
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: February 4, 2017
Read "Prospect" CD/LP/Track Review Prospect
by Glenn Astarita
Published: March 13, 2016
Read "88" CD/LP/Track Review 88
by Mark Sullivan
Published: October 24, 2016
Read "Live At The Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival" CD/LP/Track Review Live At The Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival
by Roger Farbey
Published: December 23, 2016
Read "Pale White Shout" CD/LP/Track Review Pale White Shout
by Glenn Astarita
Published: August 10, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!