Recommended: Giovanni Francesca – “Rame”


Giovanni Francesca - "Rame"This is one of those albums that radiates a mysterious beauty.  There’s nothing straight-forward about Rame.  Guitarist Giovanni Francesca cloaks gorgeous melodies within harmonies that waver and bend and fade, and wraps it all up with obscure cadences that keep the ear guessing just enough to pull the listener up close.  It’s one of those albums that makes sense after its been revealed, from moment to moment, in a perpetual state of guessing.

With its electronics & effects, and an instrumentation that accompanies a drums & bass duo with a violinist, trombonist, and Francesca’s electric guitar, there’s some lines of comparability to be drawn between this album and Bill Frisell’s Nonesuch Records output.  But those lines speak as much to the spirit of invention as they do the sonic qualities of the two musicians’ respective sounds, and it’s why the sense of familiarity is a subtle comfort when encountering this album.

“Gocce” and “Novela” is all about the slow, sweet exhalation of melody.  It’s a quality common to most of this album, and the former bolsters it with a rising intensity, whereas the latter possesses the disposition of a bedtime story.  “Nuda” brings the noise, but slowly, one step after the other.  Conversely, “Neve” gets the pulse rate up with a chipper tempo and solos that ride the crests of motion.  The acoustic guitar of “Tuba” is a lovely light-and-shadow contrast with the soaring passages from trombone.  It’s effect is no less gripping when violin is guitar’s dance partner on “Rom.”

“Lite” has an appealing saunter, occasionally broken by a burst of melodic ferocity, whereas with “Greta,” the melody is whistled out like a song.  The quintet’s playful side comes out strong on “Sentinelle,” and on album finale “Atollo,” the quintet makes time to reveal all the different facets that drive this terribly compelling recording.

Rame is one of the most stunning albums to be released in 2015.

Your album personnel:  Giovanni Francesca (electric & acoustic guitars, effects), Raffaele Tiseo (violin, 5-string violin, alto viola, violoncello da spalla), Alessandro Tedesco (tenor trombone), Dario Miranda (electric & double bass), Aldo Galasso (drums) and guests: Fabrizio Bosso (trumpet, flugelhorn) and Rita Marcotulli (piano).

Released on Auand Records.

Listen to more of the album at the artist’s Bandcamp page.

Jazz from the Benevento, Italy scene.

Available at:  eMusic | Bandcamp | Amazon