Maurizio Minardi - My Piano Trio
(Belafagor Label MM10. CD Review by Alison Bentley)
'My Piano Trio': minimalist title, exquisite minimalist music. Italian pianist/composer Maurizio Minardi's new CD actually has two trios: from London (where he now lives) and Bologna, featuring his classically-influenced compositions. He admires film composers such as Michael Nyman and Yann Tiersen. Minardi's own pieces draw you in to their serene world, and Tord Gustavson's sense of space comes to mind.
Some tunes have a limpid simplicity, such as Shiny, with harmonic progressions and arpeggios redolent of Bach -he's a presiding spirit in several pieces. Jason Reeve's drumming emphasises the off beats, creating tension, and Nick Pini's double bass solo is a expressive counterpoint to the piano's lines. Most of the solos are by the bassists, over textures created by piano and drums. Einaudito (A tribute to minimalist composer Ludovico Einaudi?) has something of Stravinsky's Cinq Doigts for Piano Solo. The repeated motifs move slowly though the keys like overlapping waves. Perludio has a strong narrative sense, almost cinematic, ending with a section recalling David Rees-Williams' reworking of Purcell.
Poppies is more romantic, and like Michel Legrand, Minardi uses classical cadences to create a gorgeous melody. The burnished cymbal sounds enhance the piano arpeggiation, rather than laying down a groove. Minardi names e.s.t. as an influence, and his piano solo here has imaginative, spiky rhythms. Clapham Park and Breton are romantic ballads- the first rubato with swooping arpeggios, the second with jazzier modal chords. Felice Del Gaudio's melodic bass solo on Clapham Park is particularly rich-toned. Roberto Rossi's fluttering cymbals are sensitive and percussive. Minardi's solo on Breton has a touch of Jimmy Rowles' Peacocks in its atonal yet emotive patterns.
Minardi also plays accordion, and recorded the tango Tulipano Nero with his Quartetto Magritte before this version. It has an urgency and intensity. Perhaps accordion tangos have inflenced Minardi's piano style in the slower Canicola. Magritte (see the excellent Surrealist cover art!) has Nyman-esque flowing repeated phrases. There's a remixed, orchestrated version of this tune on the album too, reminding us of Minardi's earlier electro-funk ventures.
This CD should appeal to classical and jazz lovers alike. The overall feeling is tranquil and meditative- interesting, crafted writing, fine playing and above all a strong emotional appeal.
Live on Saturday 21st July 2012 at 9pm at Oliver's Jazz Club, 9 Nevada Street, Greenwich, London SE10 9JN / www.mauriziominardi.com