All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

1,032

Stephane Spira & Giovanni Mirabassi: Spirabassi

Guy Zinger By

Sign in to view read count
Lyrically singing with his soprano sax, telling his story in an album dedicated to his departed father, Stephane Spira and his accomplice, pianist Giovanni Mirabassi, embark on a dreamy and introspective road trip, soaked with melancholy. Spira's father was a colorful character and antiquarian with a mad passion for music, and Spirabassi is imprinted with that character. Spira himself became a full-time jazz man not too many years ago, leaving a successful career in engineering. Mirabassi, playing since the age of three, is a self-taught pianist whose first significant jazz experience was accompanying Chet Baker at the age of 17, when the trumpeter passed through Perugia for a concert. He studied by listening to artists including Bud Powell, Bill Evans, Kenny Barron, Bach, Brahms, Charles Mingus and, in particular, Enrico Pieranunzi, who remains one of his strongest influences.

The journey begins with "21 Place Des Vosges," Spira's father antique shop address, with the duo demonstrating its lyrical capabilities. Spira sings with his soprano sax, dialoging with Mirabassi, who answers with colorful and romantic interludes. This is a perfect choice for the first track; a comprehensive and delightful representation of the entire set.

Following with "Twilight Song," rendered as a medium tempo ballad and connecting beautifully to the previous track, it's Kenny Barron meets Spirabassi, the saxophone akin to a bird taking flight above the city, and the piano bringing it back to solid ground and setting the pace of life.

Other noteworthy tracks include "Alfonsina Y El Mar," written in remembrance of Alfonsina Storni , one of the most important Latin-American poets of the modernist period. Her death inspired Ariel Ramirez and Félix Luna to compose the Latin Jazz standard, "Alfonsina and the Sea," which has been performed by Mercedes Sosa, Nana Mouskouri and many others. The duo's rendition is right at home on this album.

John Coltrane's "Dear Lord" is the only track where Spira uses his alto sax—his primary instrument is soprano—beginning with a long and expressive solo that pays tribute to his jazz heroes. Both players maintain the romantic and melodic feel of the album.

Spirabassi ends appropriately with Edú Lobo's "Pra Dizer Adeus" ("Time to Say Goodbye"), reaching closure with his father's demise. This standard has been recorded by many a great name in jazz. A perfect ending to a CD that's more like a book—a page-turner, in fact, where everything connects and flows, coming full circle to acceptance at the end.

Track Listing: 21 Place Des Vosges; Twilight Song; Spirabassi; Alfonsina Y El Mar; N.Y. Time; Dear Lord; Samba Phil; Sabiha; Mata Hari; Pra Dizer Adeus.

Personnel: Stephane Spira: soprano and tenor saxophone; Giovanni Mirabassi: piano.

Title: Spirabassi | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Bee Jazz

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Dirt...And More Dirt CD/LP/Track Review
Dirt...And More Dirt
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 26, 2018
Read Locked & Loaded CD/LP/Track Review
Locked & Loaded
by John Kelman
Published: May 26, 2018
Read Long Story Short CD/LP/Track Review
Long Story Short
by Jack Bowers
Published: May 26, 2018
Read Awase CD/LP/Track Review
Awase
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: May 26, 2018
Read Invisible Touch At Taktlos Zurich CD/LP/Track Review
Invisible Touch At Taktlos Zurich
by John Sharpe
Published: May 26, 2018
Read My Singing Fingers CD/LP/Track Review
My Singing Fingers
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 25, 2018
Read "Magnetism(s)" CD/LP/Track Review Magnetism(s)
by John Sharpe
Published: December 21, 2017
Read "Bitter Almonds" CD/LP/Track Review Bitter Almonds
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: November 25, 2017
Read "Second City" CD/LP/Track Review Second City
by Troy Dostert
Published: September 1, 2017
Read "Blue Maqams" CD/LP/Track Review Blue Maqams
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: November 13, 2017
Read "Second Act" CD/LP/Track Review Second Act
by Mark Sullivan
Published: August 23, 2017
Read "Brightbird" CD/LP/Track Review Brightbird
by Henning Bolte
Published: March 19, 2018