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Monday, June 30, 2014

Jean-Louis Matinier and Marco Ambrosini, Inventio

There are those albums that have the "beyond category" feel to them. The one up today has that in very interesting ways. Jean-Louis Matinier and Marco Ambrosini and their Inventio (ECM B0020542-02) have a confidence born of prowess, a rapport and a commitment to a direction--two excellent musicians who know where they are going, and then proceed to go there.

Matinier plays the accordion; Ambrosini plays the nyckelharpa, a bowed string instrument related to the violin, ordinarily played in Swedish folk settings. Ambrosini has mastered the instrument for a different genre. We have a program of new settings of baroque classics and quasi-Eurofolk, quasi-classic modern compositions by Matinier and/or Ambrosini.

These are excellent players in duo since 2008. They have an uncanny togetherness. Tackling Bach inventions, a movement from Biber's "Rosary" Sonatas, and something by Pergolesi they manage to sound both baroque, pre-baroque, folkish and modern all at once. Their own compositions pull us to the present but bring along all those elements at the same time. Matinier has exceptional facility on the accordion that Ambrosini complements and magnifies in his own way.

Matinier and Ambrosini revel in and excel at producing a sensuously vibrant sound. They swell together in volume as expression demands, create uncanny blends and make music of a striking kind--something completely right for Manfred Eicher's sonic treatment. It all sounds just great.

The overall effect is one of a refreshing balm, a rejuvenation of a sense of discovery. Such imaginative virtuoso playing does not come by often, not on these very originally personal terms.

A delight for your ears! Something to hear when you are weary of the same old options. Recommended.

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