118

Stefano Battaglia: Raccolto

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Stefano Battaglia: Raccolto 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 the context of mainly free improvisations, how changing one member of a trio can significantly alter its complexion, while still maintaining a consistency of approach otherwise. Percussionist Michele Rabbia, heard recently on Salvatore Bonafede's more accessible Journey to Donnafugata (Cam Jazz, 2005), teams with Battaglia on both discs, with bassist Giovanni Maier joining them on disc one, and violinist Dominique Pifarély—no stranger to ECM fans through his work with Louis Sclavis and his duet with pianist François Couturier, Poros (ECM, 1998)—rounding out the trio on disc two.

Both discs share an improvising aesthetic more rooted in a classical approach than the jazz tradition, which is no surprise given Battaglia's background as a classical performer, despite some serious jazz credentials gained working with artists like Kenny Wheeler and Dewey Redman. But even the few composed pieces—including the starkly majestic title track—avoid traditional rhythm section confines. Maier is an equal participant in evolving its abstruse yet elegant theme, while Rabbia adds texture, not rhythm. "Triangolazioni may feel like a free piece, with the members of the trio seeming to constantly circle around one another, but while Battaglia's theme is sometimes less than obvious, it does rear its head as a dark harmonic foundation that gradually builds with purposeful drama.

The trio on disc one explores tenebrous territory, and the atmosphere occasionally becomes heated, but for the most part space and subtle interaction defines a peculiar kind of beauty.

Disc two occasionally mines similar turf, but it's more oblique. Pifarély shares Battaglia's classical roots, but is a more jagged player, motivating the others to greater extremes. Battaglia's touch is lighter on disc one; with Pifarély he explores the farthest reaches of his instrument on "Canto I, much as Paul Bley did on Not Two, Not One (ECM, 1999). But with Maier on a variety of non-kit percussion instruments, there's little to tie this improvised music to conventional jazz. "Il Circo Ungherese, if anything, references Béla Bartok's distinctive subsuming of Hungarian folk music within contemporary classical concerns.

And while there's little defined form, there is clear intention and unmistakably open ears. The jagged duet "Réminiscence pur Violon et Piano may be created in the moment, but despite its outré leanings, it manages to feels constructed and preconceived.

Raccolto, with the opaque beauty of its first disc and the greater extremes of its second, illustrates two sides of the same coin. This album is sure to please those who appreciate that improvised music is by no means strictly associated with the traditional jazz world.


Track Listing: CD1: Raccolto; Triangolazioni; Triosonic I; All is Language; Our Circular Song; Coro; Triosonic II; In Front of the Fourth Door; L'Osservanza. CD2: Lys; Canto I (Dell'agonia Della Terra); Riconoscenza; Réminiscence pout Violon et Piano; Pourquoi?; Il Circo Ungherese; Veritas; Velario de Marzo; Recitativo in Memoria de Luciano Berio; Canto II Ddell'agonia Dei Ceili); Trois Brouillons; ...Dulci Declinant Lumina Somno.

Personnel: Stefano Battaglia: piano; Michele Rabbia: percussion; Giovanni Maier: double-bass (CD1); Dominique Pifarély: violin (CD2).

Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: ECM Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Road to Forever CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Avenida Graham CD/LP/Track Review Avenida Graham
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 27, 2017
Read TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2) CD/LP/Track Review TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2)
by Nicola Negri
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Goat Man & The House of the Dead CD/LP/Track Review Goat Man & The House of the Dead
by Dave Wayne
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by James Nadal
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read "Altadena" CD/LP/Track Review Altadena
by Mark F. Turner
Published: December 9, 2016
Read "Paris" CD/LP/Track Review Paris
by Mark Sullivan
Published: August 16, 2016
Read "Play Date" CD/LP/Track Review Play Date
by James Nadal
Published: October 27, 2016
Read "The Big Shake-Up" CD/LP/Track Review The Big Shake-Up
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 21, 2016
Read "End Of Seas" CD/LP/Track Review End Of Seas
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 5, 2016
Read "Summer Skyshift" CD/LP/Track Review Summer Skyshift
by John Sharpe
Published: August 18, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

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!