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Stefano Battaglia: Pelagos

Read "Pelagos" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

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 ...

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Stefano Battaglia: Pelagos

Read "Pelagos" reviewed by Karl Ackermann

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; ...

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Stefano Battaglia Trio: In The Morning

Read "In The Morning" reviewed by Mark Sullivan

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 ...

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Stefano Battaglia Trio: In The Morning

Read "In The Morning" reviewed by Karl Ackermann

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 ...

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Stefano Battaglia Trio: Songways

Read "Songways" reviewed by John Kelman

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 ...

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Stefano Battaglia Trio: The River of Anyder

Read "The River of Anyder" reviewed by John Kelman

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); ...

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Stefano Battaglia / Michele Rabbia: Pastorale

Read "Pastorale" reviewed by John Kelman

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 ...

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Stefano Battaglia: Re: Pasolini

Read "Re: Pasolini" reviewed by John Kelman

For the follow-up to his 2005 ECM debut, Raccolto, veteran Italian pianist Stefano Battaglia leaves behind its freely improvised context for more structured territory. That shouldn't suggest that Re: Pasolini doesn't have its share of surprises, but with a greater attention to form and arrangement, it provides a contrasting view to Battaglia's broad musical scope.

Re: Pasolini is another double-disc set that also features two different line-ups. Unlike Raccolto, however, there's an overriding conceptual link that goes beyond mere stylistic ...

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Stefano Battaglia: Raccolto

Read "Raccolto" reviewed by AAJ Staff

Since the '80s, maverick Italian pianist Stefano Battaglia has been responsible for a stack of about fifteen records as a leader on the homegrown Splasc(h) label, as well as plenty of sideman appearances and discs elsewhere. Raccolto is his ECM debut, reflecting the Munich-based label's incresingly pan-European outlook. Battaglia is classically trained and has a very precise touch, but he's fluently conversant in jazz from post bop through free improvisation.

This double-disc effort, recorded in late 2003, features separate sets ...

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Stefano Battaglia: Raccolto

Read "Raccolto" reviewed by John Kelman

As the international community becomes increasingly aware of the vibrant Italian jazz scene through labels like EGEA and Cam Jazz, it's important to remember that ECM has also brought artists like trumpeter Enrico Rava, accordionist Gianni Cosca and reedman Gianluigi Trovesi to broader audiences.

Add to that list pianist Stefano Battaglia, who has been on the scene for nearly twenty years, recording over a dozen records for the Splasc(h) label. On his ECM debut, the two-disc Raccolto, Battaglia demonstrates, in ...

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Stefano Battaglia: Swiss Radio Tapes, Vol. 2: Musica Centripeta

Read "Swiss Radio Tapes, Vol. 2: Musica Centripeta" reviewed by AAJ Staff

To date, the prolific Italian pianist Stefano Battaglia has made over a dozen recordings on Splasc(h). On his just-released 1997 solo recording Musica Centripeta, he demonstrates yet again that progressive piano music need not be punchy, dense, or provocatively abstruse. Battaglia's brand of improvisation emphasizes melody and flow, counterpoint and harmonic development.

In a sense, the title of this disc is quite descriptive: Musica Centripeta cycles through sonic space with an ever-expanding pull. While Battaglia's simplified, pedal-rich tones superficially share ...