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Paolo Fresu, Ralph TownerAudio CD
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

Price: $16.33 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 16, 2010)
  • Original Release Date: 2010
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Ecm Records
  • ASIN: B002PW6J60
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #98,000 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Wistful Thinking
2. Punta Giara
3. Chiaroscuro
4. Sacred Place
5. Blue in Green
6. Doubled Up
7. Zephyr
8. The Sacred Place (Revised)
9. Two Miniatures
10. Postlude

Editorial Reviews


"If his solo albums are too few and far between, even scarcer are Towner-led albums in collaboration with others - which makes Chiaroscuro a cause for celebration." --

Product Description

An exciting new duo, of unusual instrumentation, initiated by American master guitarist Ralph Towner. Towner s acoustic guitar concept has long since absorbed and abstracted influences from baroque music, contemporary composition, Brazilian music and jazz, above all the jazz of Bill Evans. In this programme of Towner originals and improvisations, the sole cover version is Blue In Green . the Bill Evans/Miles Davis tune from the classic Kind of Blue album an apt choice for Sardinia-born trumpeter Paolo Fresu, whose pure and elegant tone still carries echoes of early Miles. Towner s own pieces offer continually changing landscapes for Fresu s horn to grace, in a very poetic and lyrical set whose gradations of light and shade, of sound and shadows, are beautifully recorded.

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
54 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars INCOMPARABLE LIGHT AND SHADE March 29, 2010
Format:Audio CD
Now that both Tomasz Stanko and Enrico Rava have returned to the label, the trumpet has become increasingly important to ECM Records. Here we are introduced to Paolo Fresu, who has led many ensembles and recorded many albums (available as imports) in his native Italy. This is his first widely distributed release in the western hemisphere, and he is teamed with classical/12-string virtuoso guitarist Ralph Towner, who also leads the chamber-jazz group Oregon, and has recently turned 70 (?!?). The two recently met at a festival in Italy, and are now performing and touring together as a duo.

So when was the last time you heard a guitar/trumpet duet? This album works brilliantly on every level despite taking a risk with an unusual pairing. Yes, this is mostly quiet, reflective, introspective, meditative music, but there is also way too much happening with both performers for it to remain placidly in the background. Towner, who has played on many of ECM's greatest albums (Matchbook, Solstice, Batik, Solo Concert, et al), contributes fleet-fingered picking on "Punta Giara", double-tracks a baritone guitar on "Sacred Place" and "Doubled Up", and recaptures throughout the classical/jazz/world/folk sound he has given us for almost 40 years of recording on the ECM label. Fresu plays both trumpet and flugelhorn, and his tone has just enough sharp edges (especially on the title-track) to avoid being dismissed as a smooth impressionist. He performs a muted tribute to Miles Davis on "Blue in Green", which receives a very different arrangement from Towner's cover with Gary Burton on 1986's Slide Show album. The album closes with 2 brief, but haunting improv pieces, "Two Miniatures" and "Postlude".
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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars UTTER JAZZ STARDUST April 20, 2010
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
CHIAROSCURO is a brand new 2010 Jazz album that is absolutely first rate in every aspect. The artists are Ralph Towner (guitar), and Paolo Fresu (trumpet) - musical soulmates. There is an elegance, an exquisite taste and economy purring throughout this entire album that threw me for a loop. I'm big on 'less is more' when it comes to my musical preferences, particularly Jazz, and this completely unexpected musical gem has soared to the top of the list of my listening pleasures. All but one of the selections on the c.d. are Towner compositions, the one exception being the cover of Blue In Green by Bill Evans. Of course, the one on Kind of Blue will perhaps always be the quintessential version of the song, and yet the one on this album has a serene majesty second to none. One of the songs on the album is reprised. That one is Sacred Place, and its ravishing, gorgeous. Getting the impression I'm crazy about this album? I am, indeed. I discovered/sampled/purchased this album via, and thanks to, Amazon. Most highly recommended.
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Textures evocative of memories beyond words. March 28, 2010
By Azoic
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Up front,I must say that I am a long-time ECM devotee.This is not new age music.It is beyond -and it gets nearer to what it means to be human than any other cd I've heard for years.This is intelligent music for the heart.Towner's masterpiece.Indispensible.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heavenly pairing! May 23, 2011
Format:Audio CD
This ECM release, produced by Manfred Eicher, finds the incomparable Ralph Towner paired with Paulo Fresu on trumpet and flugelhorn. Towner is a simply outstanding guitar player and he's proven his greatness time and again on releases that stretch back to 1973. As others have said, the pairing of guitar and trumpet is an unusual one. But it works marvelously on Chiaroscuro. Towner plays classical, 12 string and baritone guitars. There are seven fine Towner originals in this set including the title track and Blue In Green by Miles Davis and Bill Evans. The last two tracks, Two Miniatures and Postlude were written by Towner and Frescu. There's pristine sound on this set, which was recorded in 2008 at Artesuono Studio, Udine, Italy. I love the tone of Frescu's horn playing. If you like this, check out other outstanding Ralph Towner recordings including Diary, Ana and Sargaso Sea (with John Abercrombie). Amazing music!!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deeply Relaxing April 5, 2011
By Rabbit
Format:Audio CD
Fantastic duo. If you want to just lay back and mellow out this is the one for you. I am sure glad I purchased it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars For When the Lights Are Low December 23, 2012
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
When I see that an album has been released on ECM, I know to expect a certain level of quality in both the recording and in the packaging. So even though I had only heard one other Paolo Fresu recording and am only marginally familiar with Ralph Towner, I felt comfortable ordering Chiaroscuro without first hearing a single cut.
How did that work out? Well, I find the music to be highly introspective and perfect for when the lights are low and you just want to relax. For those unfamiliar with Fresu, well he's not Herb Alpert. Think more along the lines of Tomasz Stanko or Miles Davis. And as for Towner, his play here reminds me somewhat of the post-shredder work of Al DiMeola when he made his own meditative musical excursions into the land of his ancestors.
To me, Chiaroscuro has an even flow with no cut really standing out. Rather it ends much as it begins and leaves you wanting to hit replay over and over when the mood is right. It is accompanied by a protective sleeve like many other ECM recordings and a minimalist insert featuring pictures and bare bones album info. I like both musicians well enough to seek out other recordings of theirs and find out what I missed.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent musicianship!
A guitar and trumpet duo how interesting I thought to myself? Fortunately I was pleasantly surprised upon
listening to this wonderful work of musical art. Read more
Published 6 months ago by robert barbosa
5.0 out of 5 stars Sends chills down my spine
This is an amazing recording. I don't own anything quite like it. It is very relaxing yet sends chills down my spine in places. The music just flows out effortlessly. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Jeff Tischer
5.0 out of 5 stars delightful
A delightful disc. The combination of acoustic classical and 12 string guitars and trumpet (fluegelhron?) is an absolute treat. I love it; Towner never disappoints.
Published 10 months ago by Kenneth Laprade
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, relaxing music
There are only two musicians: a trumpeter and an acoustic guitarist playing on this CD. They play Latino jazz in ways I have never heard. Read more
Published 15 months ago by bourga
5.0 out of 5 stars All OK !!!
Cd in ottimo stato come da descrizione.
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Published 16 months ago by NINO NORRITO
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent
Towner's maturation as a composer is a great gift for those of us who have been entranced by his music since the 70s. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Bluster Brown
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply a beautiful CD
I have been listening to Ralph Towner since Oregon. What a joy this CD is! It is simply beautful music, masterfully played that fills my heart with joy and warmth.
Published 21 months ago by Peter
4.0 out of 5 stars Shadow and Light
As has been said, it is an odd pairing of brass and guitar, but it is a good, listenable disc. Nice, atmospheric tunes.
Published on January 23, 2011 by Jay Bee
5.0 out of 5 stars TOwner Fresu
THis is another in a long line of Ralph's pairings that continues the tradition. Beautiful.
Published on April 11, 2010 by Brian
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