There's something rather endearing and self-effacing about Maurizio Minardi's decision to name this album My Piano Trioeven if the title isn't strictly accurate. The unpretentious title reflects the accessible and open nature of the music, but it's actually the product of two talented and imaginative trios: one from the UK, and the other from Italy.
Minardi studied music in Bologna, Italy, before moving to London in 2008. He's released half a dozen albums, written jingles and worked with the Royal Shakespeare Company. On My Piano Trio he's joined on three tunes by the British partnership of bassist Nick Pini and drummer Jason Reeve and, on the remaining numbers, by his Italian compatriots, bassist Roberto Rossi and drummer Felice Del Gaudio. The music draws on a mix of jazz and European classical music, with the classical influence often emerging most strongly; the result is a set that sometimes sounds like jazz with a classical edge (the dream-like "Breton" and "Canicola") and, at other times, like jazz-influenced classical music ("Tulipano Nero" or "Einaudito").
The UK trio displays its jazz influences a little more overtly than does the Italian group, thanks especially to Reeve's percussion which tends to punctuate and emphasize in contrast with Rossi's more flowing rhythms. "Shiny" and "Perludio" both have touches of the Esbjorn Svensson Trio (one of Minardi's acknowledged influences); "Poppies" blends Minardi's classical piano stylings, with Pini's strong bass lines and Reeve's skipping cymbal work.
Minardi also presents two versions of one tune. "Magritte," named perhaps as a tribute to another of Minardi's projects, the jazz-tango group Quartetto Magritteperhaps in recognition of René Magritte, the Belgian artist who has clearly inspired the album's cover designfeatures Minardi's arpeggios and Del Gaudio's spacious, considered solo. "Magritte (Remix)" gets a reworking with the addition of some electronic effects. The result is a busier, more energetic tune with a hypnotic atmosphere.
Overwhelmingly, whether it's Del Gaudio and Rossi or Pina and Reeves who join Minardi, the music evokes a sense of serenitya relaxed, controlled, beauty. My Piano Trio ably demonstrates Minardi's strengths as a composer and musician, crossing the bridge between two musical worlds with imagination and grace.