RT 9346 (2012)
Alberto Braida Giancarlo Locatelli
JERRY D'SOUZA, All About Jazz
Alberto Braida and Giancarlo Locatelli recorded this album as part of the concert series In Viaggio #9 bis at Sala Vallaperti in Melzo, Italy. The two have played together in the past and have developed an understanding and chemistry that elevates their music. Each is credited with five compositions on this record with "Del Margine" being improvised. The written note may be the signpost for their journeys, but the spark that lights their path is the undefined. Coming into play are long lush landscapes, craggy terrain and some delightful nooks and crannies.
Locatelli plays with an endearing sense of melody on "P&M." He suffuses the music in clear tonality, unraveling it gracefully before he propels it into hardier pith to flesh the outing. Braida is sympathetic, his open notes adding to the spell and the beauty. The enchantment is carried to a higher level on the luminescent "Once It Was The Colour Of Saying." Locatelli is once more the lead voice, breaking up the linearity with short phrases without losing his feel for the inner nectar of the composition. Braida finds the space to forge scintillating runs, phrasing them with emphatic chords and, as he does all along, with compact harmony.
The spry, rather upbeat and convoluting "Comminare Api" darts in and around, changing tacks in quicksilver motion. It's a signal collaboration, one that underlines the empathy between Braida and Locatelli. No matter which way the latter decides to go, the former is right there as a companion and a foil.
Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery
Italian pianist Alberto Braida certainly gets around and has worked with a number of important musicians: John Butcher, Peter Kowald, Lisle Ellis and Gino Robair. Mr. Braida has recorded with clarinetist Giancarlo Locatelli on a few previous sessions as a duo and as a trio. This disc was recorded live in November of 2010 and both musicians composed an equal number of pieces: five each plus one improv. The opening piece, "Ninna Nanna" is closer to more minimalist modern classical than jazz and thoughtfully played. The melody to "Once it was the Colour of Saying" sounds rather familiar like a standard you can't put your finger on. This music is rarely dense making each note count with occasionally dark undercurrents. What is adventurous about this music is the careful use of space and the way certain notes clash subtly. The well-measured restraint makes one listen closer to what is going on since it is not the density that draws you in. Often this sounds like a slow thoughtful conversation between two old friends. Both musicians have brought some interesting music to the session. I hear some Monk-like passages, bent bebop licks and slightly skewered melodic fragments all of which fit well within the entirety the program. This is one of the more creative yet still somber at times duo sessions I've heard.
Lawrence Joseph - Today's Sounds
Pianist Alberto Braida and clarinetist Giancarlo Locatelli have been performing together since 1996, and this is the ninth time the pair has appeared on the same record, in formations ranging from duo to quintet. Given the long history, it’s not surprising to discover the elevated levels of telepathy on display here.
Locatelli plays both the B flat horn as well as bass clarinet. His melodic contours reveal the influence of another straight horn player, legendary soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy, with whom Locatelli recorded in the early ’90s. Like Lacy, Locatelli favours long streams of twisted melodies, although Locatelli eschews Lacy’s obsession with extracting every possibility from a single line, moving on to the next idea more quickly. While the duo at times reminds of Lacy’s longstanding collaboration with pianist Mal Waldron, Braida tends towards a lighter left-hand touch.
With five tracks composed by Braida, another five from Locatelli and one freely improvised, the CD presents an ideal case study of composition vs. improvisation, and invites a comparison of compositional styles.
Braida is the more compact of the two, his songs averaging just over 4 minutes while Locatelli’s are closer to six. Braida employs more conventional head-improvisation-head arrangements, while Locatelli explores experimental sonorities. Regardless of format, there is little parallel play and no extended techniques or noise, but lots of tight piano comping to Locatelli’s continuous flows of angular ideas.
Several songs feature phrases that hint at jazz standards. Locatelli’s “The Hat” could be a reference to the Charles Mingus tribute to Lester Young, “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat.” Braida’s “Once It Was the Colour of Saying” was named after and inspired by a Dylan Thomas poem. “Camminare Api” is Italian for walking bees, and while the bass clarinet buzzes some low drones that might have suggested the title, the tune itself would not be out of place in a Monk set as interpreted by Lacy.
“Dal Margine” is the improvised work, and while noticeably looser and faster paced than the compositions, still results in close communication. Jazz fans who dislike the lengthy stretches of searching for common terrain that can occur in improvised music will revel in the high peak-to-seek ratio.