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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Stefano Battaglia: Pelagos

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Italian pianist Stefano Battaglia, an ECM artist since 2005, is a player possessed of an alluring refinement and polish carried over into his jazz work via his classical training. His best recordings, 2015's In the Morning (ECM Records) and River Of Anyder (ECM Records, 2011), are studies intricate and understated beauty. Both are piano trio outings--a format that suits Battaglia's approach, as does going it alone, his mode on Pelagos. Pelagos is Battaglia's journey into solo piano, enhanced ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Stefano Battaglia: Pelagos

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Stefano Battaglia has a ten-plus year history on the ECM label where he has covered much ground in terms of formations, style and genre. The effort has not always paid off. His label debut Raccolto (2005) was a meandering affair that squandered the opportunities that come with two-discs of music. All of Battaglia's considerable talents were on display, they just didn't quite find a landing site. The pianist's follow up Re: Pasolini (2007) was the beginning of a developmental breakthrough; ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Samo Salamon & Stefano Battaglia: windS

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Slovenian guitarist Samo Salamon and Italian pianist Stefano Battaglia are not an obvious pairing for a duet recording. Salamon's discography features his own compositions, frequently with an electric, fusion edge; classical/jazz pianist Battaglia's most well known recordings for ECM are in an impressionistic style. There are two Salamon compositions here, but the bulk of the program is made up of impromptu performances by the duo, emphasizing the more abstract playing that is sometimes part of their styles. “Rain Forest" opens ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Stefano Battaglia Trio: In The Morning

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Italian pianist Stefano Battaglia and his trio present a program with a special thematic focus: all of the music was written by American composer Alec Wilder. Wilder is best known for his popular songs (recorded by Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee, the Mills Brothers and others), but he also composed in many other genres--including art songs, orchestral music, chamber music, film music, musicals, and opera. And he wrote the influential book American Popular Song: The Great Innovators (1900-1950) about the classic ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Stefano Battaglia Trio: In The Morning

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Over the past five years Stefano Battaglia could have easily taken bassist Salvatore Maiore and drummer Roberto Dani into the ubiquitous realm of classically trained piano trios, where improvisation, chamber and dark lyricism meet but rarely ignite. But along with his classical training and an established ear for free jazz, hard bop and mainstream, Battaglia has grown and capitalized on those collective skills. The Milan, Italy native has increasingly chosen an open mind and ear, an affinity for spontaneity, and ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Stefano Battaglia Trio: Songways

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Since his relationship with ECM began in 2003, Stefano Battaglia has been consistent in his use of different constellations for each recording, from 2006's double-disc Raccolto, where the Italian pianist worked with two different trios, and 2007's Re: Pasolini, another two-CD set where one employed a more broadly defined sextet and the other a string-centric quintet, to the vulnerable duo of 2010's Pastorale, with percussionist and electronic manipulator Michele Rabbia--a largely constant companion throughout these three recordings. Battaglia's reliance on ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Stefano Battaglia Trio: The River of Anyder

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After three ECM recordings that finally brought greater international attention to the eclectic breadth of Stefano Battaglia's nearly two-decade career, the Italian pianist turns to a format steeped in jazz orthodoxy for The River of Anyder . But those familiar with his career, if only his ECM dates--the freer terrain explored with two trios on Raccolto (2006); paying tribute to the multi-disciplinary Pier Paolo Pasolini with two discs of more structured music for quintet and sextet on Re: Pasolini (2007); ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Stefano Battaglia / Michele Rabbia: Pastorale

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In many ways, Italian piano explorer Stefano Battaglia's work with the German ECM label--beginning with the opaque beauty and greater extremes of 2006's Raccolto, and continuing with 2007's more ambitious and stylistically far-reaching Re: Pasolini--has been leading to this. Pastorale, unlike those previous releases, is a single disc, pared down in other ways as well. Instead of the trios on Raccolto and quintet/sextet of Pasolini, here Battaglia is back with only his longstanding percussionist, Michele Rabbia. The inherent flexibility and ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

3Quietmen / Stefano Battaglia: Bartokosmos

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3Quietmen is a young Italian trio that draws inspiration from composer Bela Bartok's Mikrokosmos, a prominent work consisting of 153 piano pieces. Fellow countryman and revered modern jazz pianist Stefano Battaglia joins the band for these pieces that waver between jazz and groove-based abstractions, shaded with electronics. It's a polytonal feast for the ears, as the musicians execute circular mini-motifs and cunning paradigm shifts, punchy ostinatos and brawny group-centric interplay.

Battaglia occasionally calms the waters via airy, jazz-based ...


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