Just Music Trio: Standpoint

Ian Patterson By

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Cross-pollination of music is as old as the hills, but the increasing frequency of such experimentation—the result of evermore sophisticated home recording technologies and file sharing—has obliterated the lines of latitude and longitude that traditionally separated musicians living in different countries/continents. This is leading to an ever greater number of sub-genres in all styles of music, and in jazz terms, may represent the greatest revolution in the music for forty years. It's increasingly futile to hang a name on so much music these days, much to the chagrin of the purists. However, when the wailing and gnashing of teeth finally abate, there may be—as this trio's name portends—one genre only: just music.

From the first notes—with acoustic guitarist Fabrizio Spadea, double bassist Yuri Goloubev and pianist Roberto Olzer weaving independent yet simultaneously interdependent lines—it's clear that the music on Standpoint is a unified musical statement by three virtuosos inspired by the allure of melody. The opener, Andrei Kondakov's "Song" for Michel," is a lovely tribute to pianist Michel Petrucciani and sets the tone for the rest of the album. Lyricism, continual development of melodic lines, and subtly shifting patterns of unison and counterpoint coexist with stellar improvisation from all three musicians. There's plenty of impressive soloing throughout these compositions; the improvisations don't exist as separate entities framed by the heads, but instead flow as melodic threads—the blood in the compositions' veins.

A fairly faithful yet heartfelt rendition of composer Ennio Morricone's "Cinema Paradiso" begins with Goloubev's gently singing arco in tandem with piano. Spadea caresses the melody while piano and bass provide counterpoint of an almost classical bent. Olzer briefly leads with a short but delicate statement, and Spadea bridges the gap to Goloubev, who unravels a solo that would have Moricone himself purring at it sheer musicality. Arco also opens Antonio Carlos Jobim's ""Chovendo Na Roseira," a light and dancing take that has, especially in Speadea's impassioned playing, a Flamenco soul; it's almost possible to imagine a cajón lightly cantering along in time.

Gentle lyricism characterizes the pretty title track, one of two arresting Goloubev compositions. All three musicians turn in extended improvisations of tremendous clarity and finesse. The bassist's "Parisian Episode V" starts with a beguiling solo guitar intro, before the players pass the melody around in another fine example of the individuals shining within the collective voice. Olzer's "C'est Ainsi Que Tu Es" is equally impressive, sauntering between tight unison trio/duo lines and solo improvisation, all the while carrying kernels of the melody. "Plain Song"—by Goloubev's long-time collaborator, pianist Gwilym Simcock—fits snugly in this collection with its softly aching lyricism. Spadea's fleet playing is so light you can hardly hear his fingers on the strings.

Olzer's original arrangement of Victor Young's "Stella by Starlight" and contemporary Italian composer Giovanni Allevi's "Panic," inspired by Sammy Fain's "The Second Star to the Right" round off a fine set with more wonderful yet non-egotistical soloing buoyed by acutely sympathetic support. The intuitive understanding at play between Goloubev, Spadea and Olzer produces music, just music, that is sensitive yet passionate, subtle yet undeniably stirring.

Track Listing: Song for Michel; Nuovo Cinema Paradiso; Chovendo Na Roseira; Standpoint; C’set Ansi Que Tu Es; Parisian Episode V; Stella by Starlight; Plain Song; The Second Star to the Right/Panic.

Personnel: Yuri Goloubev: double bass; Fabrizio Spadea: acoustic guitar; Roberto Olzer: piano.

Title: Standpoint | Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Caligola Records


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