Stefano Bollani - Stone In The Water

album review


Release date: October 26th 2009

Availability: CD, MP3 Download

Stefano Bollani: Stone In The Water cover

In the crowded genre of the jazz piano trio, signposted by so many great musicians – Bill Evans, Hank Jones, Ahmad Jamal, Cedar Walton, McCoy Tyner, Keith Jarrett, Mulgrew Miller, Brad Mehldau, Gonzalo Rubalcaba – it is extraordinarily difficult and near to impossible for a European to stand out. But this is just what Italian pianist Sefano Bollani has done with 'Stone In The Water', his debut album as piano trio leader.

The trio - Stefano Bollani (piano), Jesper Bodilsen (bass), Morten Lund (drums) – first came together in 2002 supporting trumpeter Enrico Rava when he won the JazzPar prize and has performed regularly since then. Stefano Bollani had been featured on four albums with ECM accompanying Enrico Rava and had released the solo album 'Piano Solo' for the label in 2006 but surprisingly 'Stone In The Water' is the trio's first album together.

No-one knows better how to capture piano on a recording than Manfred Eicher, who produced the album when it was recorded in New York in 2008. That sound quality and the presence of the performers that is captured so well here is certainly one of the key features that sets this album apart.

Yet this is more than the typical ECM offering. Just now and then (as, for example, with Gary Burton/ Chick Corea's 'Crystal Silence' or Marc Johnson's 'Shades Of Jade') some real, if restrained, jazz escapes the ECM genre, and this is certainly the case with this fine album.

The piano voicings and the overall take on jazz of the trio echoes Bill Evans, but that is a complement to the great musicianship and rapport that these fine musicians express.

Original compositions by Stefano Bollani and Jesper Bodilsen with versions of Antonio Carlos Jobim's 'Brigas Nunca Mais', Francis Poulenc's 'Improvisation 13 en La Mineur' and Caetano Veloso's 'Dom de Iludir' make up a strong programme of immersive and meditative jazz that, as the album title suggests, summons up real beauty and thoughtfulness.

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