Almost all the albums that are stamped with the ECM label logo promise to be excellent, or at least, interesting. Each breathes quality. The music of Foligno-born pianist Giovanni Guidi fell in my ears last year when his “This Is The Day” album came out in 2015. I immediately appreciated his sense of melody, chord progression (which I find as interesting on this new album) and arrangements.

On “Ida Lupino”, Guidi teams up with trombonist Gianluca Petrella (considered as one of the best young jazz players of his instrument), French jazz veteran Louis Sclavis on clarinet, bass clarinet, and soprano saxophone and American drummer Gerald Cleaver (who also leads the groups Uncle June, Black Host, Violet Hour and NiMbNl). Guidi and Petrella composed together most of the music on this record.

 

The album starts with the song that convinced me to buy the CD on the spot, What We Talk About When We Talk About Love, which I thought was a cover song by one of my favourite rock bands, dEUS. But it isn’t. It’s a new song by Guidi, Petrella and Cleaver.

The four lads move their pace a bit on the clarinet-led Just Tell Me Who It Was and bring an extra layer of free-jazz with the syncope beat of Jeronimo. The title song, Ida Lupino, is one of the softest pieces of the opus. The melody is played by both the piano and clarinet while the trombone plays around the main lines. It is only in the last minute that things start to develop. Hopefully, they will explore more of this song during concerts.

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The piece Ida Lupino was initially written by Carla Bley and many jazz musicians interpreted it through the years: Paul Bley in 1965, The Steve Kuhn Trio in 1966 and again in 1972, Charlie Haden in 1989 on “The Montreal Tapes”, John Surman in 1991, to name a few.

Guidi’s piano finally takes a bit more space during one of the last pieces, Per i morti di Reggio Emilia, a very smooth and hovering composition, on which the trombone of Petrella starts with background noises and develops into leading towards the middle. As very often with ECM records, the album was produced by Manfred Eicher.

 

I must admit to having been a bit disappointed of the small amount of piano on this collaborative album, as my initial motivation was mainly about Giovanni Guidi’s name on the record sleeve, but in the end, I am discovering musicians that share their own universe, which is also very interesting. As I started with in this review, all ECM albums have great things to offer. “Ida Lupino” is certainly not the exception to the rule!

Note: Ida Lupino (1918 – 1995) was an Anglo-American actress and singer, who became a pioneering director and producer—the only woman working within the 1950s Hollywood studio system to do so. With her independent production company, she co-wrote and co-produced several of her own social-message films, and was the first woman to direct a film noir, The Hitch-Hiker in 1953. The majority of her later career as an actress, writer, and director was in television, where she directed more than 100 episodes of productions ranging across Westerns, supernatural tales, situation comedies, murder mysteries, and gangster stories (source Wikipedia).

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GIOVANNI GUIDI / GIANLUCA PETRELLA / LOUIS SCLAVIS / GERALD CLEAVER
Ida Lupino
(ECM, 2016)

-Genre: jazz
-In the same mood as Shei Maestro

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About The Author

Nicolas Pelletier

Mélomane invétéré et rédacteur agréé, Nicolas pratique la critique en mode olympique: il parle de tout, tout le temps, depuis 1991. Il a publié 6 000 critiques de disques et concerts dont 1100 chez emoragei magazine et 600 sur enMusique.ca, dont il a également été le rédacteur-en-chef de 2009 à 2014. Il publie “Les perles rares et grands crus de la musique” en 2013, et devient stratège numérique des radios de Bell Média en 2015, participant au lancement de la marque iHeartRadio au Canada en 2016.