Feb 26 2018
You really need to check out these new releases from Pericopes
Alessandro Sgobbio and Emiliano Vernizzi have been working under the project name Pericopes for a number of years now. Those of you who have been with me since my eMusic Jazz Picks days will recognize the name. Well, the duo have two new albums out, and it goes a long way to illustrating the vast emotional range at their disposal.
Their 2018 release What What is a case in point. It possesses a solemn tone reminiscent of a chamber jazz session recorded in an old church somewhere out in the countryside. It’s a tone that carries even through those moments when the duo jacks up the heat several notches… as they frequently do on this lovely recording. The tides of intensity shift to and fro with a suddenness that is often quite stunning. The unexpectedness of these changes never dims, even in the face of their common occurrence. There are times when it seems a shame that they’d break the spell of serenity that had settled in, but that interruption gradually is revealed as a blessing, because not only does the spike in volatility have a captivating quality all its own, but there’s also the satisfaction of the inevitable return to a state of peace.
Your album personnel: Emiliano Vernizzi (soprano & tenor saxophones) and Alessandro Sgobbio (piano).
Released on Unit Records.
Listen to more of the album on the artist’s Soundcloud page.
But it’s not uncommon for the duo to expand their numbers when the moment calls for it. Their other new release, Legacy, is one such example of the benefits to this creative flexibility. Adding Nick Wight to the fold gives the affair a much more lively and excitable demeanor… a result that can be measured in how the drummer spurs the melodic voicings on to greater heights and speeds, but also in the way Wight gives the melody greater definition in the way he dances spryly around it. The sharp precision the latter approach burns into the song is best heard in “November Tears.” The song smolders with thick emotion, and though this would seem to be a moment ripe for a drummer to exploit for dramatics, Wight’s undercurrent of accompaniment resonates far stronger than any burst of fireworks could have achieved. That said, the thrilling rhythmic curls of title-track “Legacy,” and how they suddenly break into stretches of insistent pulsing tempo certainly add to the reasons why this album is so damn enjoyable.
Equally notable are the parallels to be drawn between Legacy and What What, and how Sgobbio and Vernizzi are in no way inhibited from applying some of the same approaches to intensity with either recording, and regardless of the line-up. It was this way, too, when they worked as a trio on their 2015 release These Human Beings.
Your album personnel: Emiliano Vernizzi (tenor sax) and Alessandro Sgobbio (piano, Fender Rhodes) and Nick Wight (drums).
Released on Auand Records.
Mar 7 2018
Here’s two albums for when you want to spend the entire day watching the rain fall outside
It’s been raining here a bunch lately. Most days, by necessity, my reaction must be whatevs, because I’ve got stuff to do and places to go and other mundane phrases representing mundane tasks. But not this day. Today, I’m going to spend the day on my sofa, surrounded by cats, and just stare out the big windows of my home at a foggy, gloomy rainy day enveloping the quaint downtown skyline.
Here’s two albums that snap right into place with that kind of day. I listen to them plenty on other other occasions, too, but it wasn’t until today’s overcast skies and patter of raindrops against the window pane that their perfection for just such moment crystalized in my mind.
Phil France – The Swimmer
As part of the Cinematic Orchestra, Phil France has displayed a talent for manipulating the equation that binds a pretty melody with captivating imagery and the freedom to roam. He applied those same principles to his 2013 release The Swimmer (re-released by Gondwana Records in 2017), but where his Cinematic Orchestra produced music that captured the beauty of still life in a frozen moment, France’s solo project is the motion of road trips through the countryside. The warmth of string sections and blasts of furious percussion add some warmth and edge to all of the massive beauty, and, thankfully, gives it some personality that is occasionally a bit unhinged and not so predictable. The pulsing keyboards are like raindrops, and the string harmonies are a cloud front that ripples like the sea and fills the entire sky with infinitely different shades of grey. The music is moody and active, just like scene outside the window.
Your album personnel: Phil France (keyboards, synths, bass), Stuart McCallum (guitar), Richard Spaven (drums, percussion), Daniel Bridgewater-Hall (violin), Sernay Wu (cello), Vincent Helbers (drums), Susannah Simmons, Adam Robinson (violins), Naomi Koop (viola) and Patrick Carpenter, Phil Kay (production & effects).
Released on Gondwana Records. Listen to more of the album on their Bandcamp page.
Available at: Bandcamp | Amazon
Trigg & Gusset – Adagio for the Blue
There’s just a hint of space jazz on this 2015 recording by the duo Trigg & Gusset. Pianist Bart Knol and saxophonist Erik van Geer layer electronics and effects under, over and all through this laid-back session, and give peaceful music energetic undertones… like ripples disturbing the serenity of a lake’s surface just enough to add distinction and texture. They have a series of guests that add even more texture, with instruments like flamenco guitar, trumpet, double bass and electric guitar. The effect ranges anywhere from sparks flying to moonlight settling in for the night.
In more than a few ways, it reminds me of Galaxies Like Grains of Sand by Hampshire & Foat. It, too, possessed a vague space jazz sound and resilient tranquility, as if a soundtrack for astronauts watching shooting stars on a lazy day on Mars.
Your album personnel: Bart Knol (piano, Fender Rhodes, electric guitar, synths, beats, samples), Erik van Geer (tenor sax, bass sax, bass clarinet, flute) and guests: Dominique Bentvelsen (double bass), Midas Ghijsels (acoustic & flamenco guitars), Just Lavooij (double bass), Coen Hamelink (trumpet), Matthijs Blom (electric guitar).
Released on Preserved Sound. Listen to more of the album on their Bandcamp page.
Available at: Bandcamp | Amazon
By davesumner • Beyond Jazz Reviews • 0 • Tags: Two-Fer Review series