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Guidi plays Ferré

Giovanni Guidi Avec le Temps

From left: Francesco Bearzatti, Giovanni Guidi, Thomas Morgan, João Lobo and Roberto Cecchetto (photo: Clément Puig)

Léo Ferré’s “Avec le temps” is one of the most exquisite sad songs ever written (Avec le temps va tout s’en va / On oublie le visage et l’on oublie la voix…). Giovanni Guidi is a lyric poet of the piano. The combination of the two, assembled for the title track of Guidi’s new album, is a natural. The pianist’s touch is at its most effecting on a piece like this, with never a note wasted as he searches for the song’s essence. But it’s not just him and Ferré. It’s Thomas Morgan, the double bassist who combines Gary Peacock’s ardent fluidity with Charlie Haden’s deep soul, suffused with a pensive quality that is all his own. It’s also João Lobo, who adds a dimension that makes this group something more than a conventional piano trio, his discreet splashes, scrapes and sussurations disrupting the perfection in a subtle and highly creative way.

It’s a seductive start, but the album has much more to offer. On the second track, guests appear. The first is the guitarist Roberto Cecchetto, whose opening duet with Morgan on the modal “15th of August” reminds me of Gabor Szabo and Al Stinson in that great Chico Hamilton group of the early ’60s. The comparison extends to the other guest, Francesco Bearzatti, who turns up later in the same piece, playing tenor saxophone with some of the contemplative quality of the mature Charles Lloyd, like a Coltrane who finally found that inner peace. Lobo’s playing behind Morgan’s thrumming figures on the closing section of this is so stunning that you just don’t want it to stop.

Gradually the album travels further out, very interestingly so as Bearzatti’s Aylerish squalls on “Postludium and a Kiss” add another disruptive element to roil the prevailing balladry before, in a thrilling process, the other musicians rise to match his energy. “No Taxi”, by the trio, turns in another direction, towards a meeting of Thelonious Monk’s angles and Lennie Tristano’s seamless flow, with Bearzatti playing the Charlie Rouse/Warne Marsh role. “Caino” is a pre-dawn tone poem, with fine shading from Cecchetto’s guitar, and “Johnny the Liar” feels like a continuation of the same dream-state. “Ti Stimo”, a Guidi favourite, has a lovely rustic simplicity that Bill Frisell would enjoy, and “Tomasz” — a dedication to the late trumpeter Tomasz Stanko — finds the trio summoning the ravishing beauty heard on their previous albums, City of Broken Dreams and This Is The Day, both released, like this new one, on ECM.

As far as I know, Guidi, Morgan and Lobo have played together in London only twice, both times at the Rosenfeld Porcini art gallery. Someone should bring them back as soon as possible. This is one of the finest groups in contemporary jazz, and Avec le temps is not to be missed.

5 Comments Post a comment
  1. Lovely piece about a lovely album, Richard. Very glad you evidently enjoyed it as much as I did – obviously my frame of musical reference is far narrower than yours, but you might find it interesting to read my own words about it as there are a few similar points made.
    https://geoffandrew.com/2019/03/22/giovanni-guidi-more-than-just-a-fine-jazz-pianist/
    Do let me know if you hear of any London gigs. I caught the first one as you know, but managed to miss the second one.

    April 7, 2019
  2. amsterdammike #

    A gentle finely tuned appreciation which opened up a new album to me.
    So thanks for that.
    I spent a very wonderful afternoon at the Minimal Music Festival here in Amsterdam,
    Terry Riley and Gyan Riley playing a delightfully intimate set.

    April 7, 2019
  3. tonydudleyevans #

    We had the Giudi Trio at Cheltenham three years ago, but sadly Thomas Morgan was not available. I forget the name of the Italian bass player who replaced him, but he was excellent and the trio was as good as that with Thomas – almost.

    April 8, 2019
  4. GuitarSlinger #

    I recently purchased this album myself . Stunning with a definite sense of the sublime ( ‘ beautiful / danger ‘ in the classic definition of the word ) Well worth the price of entry and the time invested .e.g. ;

    Listen to it from beginning to end uninterrupted as intended rather than in bits and pieces .. you won’t regret it .

    As for ” Avec le Temps ” .. that song has haunted me from the moment I first sampled this CD on ECM’s website .

    On a related side note / Happy 50th to ECM ; 50 years of ” The Most Beautiful Sound Next to Silence ” .. and for myself personally … 50 years of uninterrupted influence and inspiration

    April 8, 2019
  5. GRAHAM ROBERTS #

    Totally agree – Giovanni Guidi’s trio is immaculate, and the additional instrumental colours on ‘Avec le Temps’ have been assimilated beautifully. I am on the Rosenfeld Porcini art gallery’s mailing list and attended both of the trio’s concerts there. I believe that the relationship with the gallery arises from Giovanni’s use for CD art work purposes of a couple of its paintings. The art work for ‘Avec le Temps’ appears to be from the same source, so perhaps a return engagement at some stage might be in prospect. I hope so; the gallery provided a wonderfully sympathetic environment for the trio, and the enlightened folk who run it are to be applauded for staging the earlier concerts.

    After all these years, ECM continue to provide endless hours of marvellous music. Along with ‘Avec le Temps’, I also purchased the new album by Sokratis Sinoplous’s Quartet, ‘Metamodal’ – an equally rewarding listen.

    April 9, 2019

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