Travel compiles a musical travelogue through eight cities from Istanbul (Turkey) through Oslo (Norway) to Tokyo (Japan), rendered in the acoustic quartet sound of trumpet, piano, bass, and percussion. Composers Marco Vezzoso and Alessandro Collina don't paint strikingly different portraits but reflect each geography through the same sort of quietly intense music, and tuck an almost unbelievable amount of beautiful sound into 41 minutes.
Lead and solo voices Vezzoso (trumpet and flugelhorn) and Collina (piano) receive great assistance from their exceptional, elastic rhythm section of bassist Dominique di Piazza and drummer-percussionist Trilok Gurtu; in the early 1990s, di Piazza and Gurtu formed two-thirds of trios led by guitarist John McLaughlin, including a world tour and 1992's Qué Alegría (Verve), which hit #5 on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Chart.
"Breathing Istanbul" touches down upon di Piazza's singing bass and Collina's soft accompaniment, and then Vezzoso's flugelhorn soars up and away from the rhythm track like a powerful jet airliner whispering through the clouds after takeoff, while Gurtu's percussion pops up below like mileposts ticking past on the journey. Even if you have no experience with Istanbul, this song still feels as natural as breathing.
Percussion and piano build into the power that moves "Oslo No Light," with Vezzoso's horn majestically climbing their solid and sympathetic steps and di Piazza doubling his bass time when the ensemble turns back into the melody for the closing verse of this elastic, elegant song. Gurtu's resolute double-time gallop in the rhythm line and Vezzoso's horn ascending into "Jakarta's Skyline" seems like watching the outline of a city emerging in the distance as you move toward it, a bright and satisfied sound full of sunlight and warmth.
The composers write this erudite quartet into a blues bar as they "Wake Up in Manila," with heavy, descending blue piano chords and percussion recorded so intimately that you can almost feel Gurtu's hands upon them. Vezzoso's groaning trumpet tone pulls out (puts in?) even more sadness, his emotive solo resplendent with long strong notes and longer, stronger silences, all in an elegantly synchronized dance with Collina's slippery piano blues.
In a world full of man-made cruelty and hardship, it's good to be reminded that man can also create peace and beauty. No matter where you , when you're enveloped in music this lovely, you'll always feel at home.
Breathing Istanbul; A Tuk Tuk for Phnom Penh; Oslo No Light; Wake Up in Manila; Jakarta's Skyline; Moonlight in
Prague; Canton's Mood; A Foggy Tokyo.
| Year Released: 2022
| Record Label: ITI Records
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