Joy In Spite Of Everything
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With Joy in Spite of Everything an album of new compositions by the pianist for a trans-Atlantic quintet Bollani has made his most beautifully textured and infectiously lyrical statement yet. He recorded these nine pieces at New York Citys Avatar Studios with the Danish rhythm section from his Stone in the Water trio bassist Jesper Bodilsen and drummer Morten Lund plus two prominent American players and ECM intimates: guitarist Bill Frisell and saxophonist Mark Turner.
As its title reflects, Joy in Spite of Everything brims with an indefatigable lightness of spirit despite the inevitable shadows of life.
Top Customer Reviews
I'll single out the waltz "Alobar e Kudra" (background music playing in the world's most dangerous restaurant) and the midtempo "Tales from the Time Loop" only because I keep cueing up those tracks incessantly; the melodies are wonderful, and Turner's and Frisell's solos on the latter are particularly fine, on a disc full of fine solos. Bollani's chameleonic piano resists comparisons: the ingredients of his style would have to include a measure of Chick, a dash of Oscar, a pinch of Michel Legrand, and god knows what else. It all works wonderfully on this album, and I'm going to have to check out more of his music.
Varying group configurations to include, duo, trio, quartet, and quintet, Bollani composed the nine tunes presented with these players specifically in mind. Individual and collective strengths are spotlighted time and time again such as on the opening “Easy Healing,” where a south of the border bounce provides a backdrop over which the instrumentalists make their initial solo statements.
Throughout the disc highlights abound. “No Pope No Party” recalls the jazz heyday of the late fifties and early sixties with a hint of Monk before parading down a decidedly modern path.
“Alobar e Kudra” is a trio piece on which Bollani shows that he can swing with the best of them.
Frisell is easily one of the genre’s most idiosyncratic guitarists. “Teddy” is an intriguing duo that finds he and Bollani dancing at times in lockstep and others engaged in a call-and-response synchronicity.
Smack dab in the middle of the program (song 5 of 9) is the disc’s longest tune and its centerpiece, the twelve-minute “Vale.” Featuring the quintet, piano, tenor, and guitar deliver a pensive theme while the individual solos yearn for, and deliver, bits of splintered light.
The title track is yet another outing for trio. Simultaneously closing the disc and bookending it with a performance that is as nuanced as it is engaging.
Encapsulating the first rate jazz that has long been synonymous with ECM, Stefano Bollani’s “Joy in Spite of Everything” is a title which belongs in any well-rounded listening library as it offers a treasure trove of pleasures for both the ears, mind, and soul.
"Joy In Spite of Everything" (9 tracks; 76 min.) starts off with the most accessible track on here, the delicious "Easy Healing" that has you thinking Cuba or Brazil has been on Bollani's mind lately. Next comes the wickedly funny titled "No Pope, No Party", how can you not smile at that? It surprised me how much leeway Bollani gives to the other musicians, in particular the saxophonist, who truly shines on this track but is very much in the forefront on many other tracks. "Las Hortensias" is a moody jazz ballad. "Vale" is at 12+ min. the longest track on here, and also one of the more abstract pieces. Deeper into the album we get the outstanding "Tales From the Time Loop", where the quintet really shines. The rollicking title track closes the album in rousing fashion, wow!
In all, I can't say enough how much I like this album. I am by no means a jazz "expert" but to me this album finds a good middle ground between "classic" and "modern" jazz, although slightly leaning more towards the modern side. I can't wait to see what Stefano Bollani does next. Meanwhile "Joy In Spite of Everything" is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I listen to a lot of jazz, and like a lot of different styles of jazz. Joy In Spite of Everything is a rare treasure indeed! Beautiful, flowing, lovely music. Joyful. Spacious. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Dr. Dave Mccluggage
This is great – what you think of with ECM. I heard of this though Tom Cole on WPFW in DC who is a wonderful resource for music that might be not as well-known generally. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Andrew Cook
Cheese that doesn't go crunch. Bad club band music, I guess, if it counts, that it's not badly played.Published 18 months ago by Kindle Customer
This album was my introduction to Bollani. It's definitely a piano player's record. Good compositions and mix of instrumentation. Not everyone plays on every track. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Burnzy111
BOLLANI DOES IT AGAIN AND AGAIN. SHOWING US THAT CREATIVITY CAN BE IN THE UNIVERSE OF SIMPLICITY. BRAVO BOLLANI, GREATR RECORDING OF YOUR IDEAS.....Published 19 months ago by Raimundo Figueroa