Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Giovanni Guidi, Ida Lupino

An album of exceptional merit is always an event in my world. Giovanni Guidi's Ida Lupino (ECM 2462) is one such. It reunites pianist Guidi with his former bandmate from a classic edition of Enrico Rava's group, namely trombonist Gianluca Petrella.  Added to this pairing is clarinetist Louis Sclava and drummer Gerald Cleaver for a most potent foursome.

The program is made up of a number of collective improvisations, some memorable compositional collaborations between Guidi and Petrella, and the iconic Carla Bley piece "Ida Lupino," the latter a dual tribute to Carla Bley on her 80th birthday and to the lifework of her former partner, pianist Paul Bley, who introduced the song to us and made it a classic.

The what of the album is on an equal footing with the how. All four turn in beautiful performances that make this a quartet of genuine distinction. The rapport between Guidi and Petrella is exceptional, but then the four-way of Guidi-Petrella-Sclava-Cleaver is no less so.

It is one of those albums that hangs together from first-to-last, a landmark release of the 2016 season, much deserving of your undivided attention.

This is music of the ages, and of course music of our current age par excellence.

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