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Thursday, November 17, 2016

Giorgio Gaslini, Murales Promenade, Alfonso Alberti, Yoichi Sugiyama, Haydn Orchestra of Bolzano and Trento

Throughout our present era, before his passing in 2014, Giorgio Gaslini has been one of the foremost European jazz composers and bandleaders on the scene. He was ever the rich source of unending good musical ideas, creating a body of recordings that were simultaneously avant garde and vividly communicating.

What is less known is his new music classical works, which we get an impressive sample of on the recording Murales Promenade (Stradivarius 37038), featuring Alfonso Alberti in the role of piano soloist, with Yoichi Sugiyama conducting the Haydn Orchestra of Bolzano and Trento.

Two major concerted works are the center of the program:  the brash yet lyrical "Murales Promenade" (2008) and the "Concerto for Piano and Orchestra" (2013). Both have at times some fiendishly difficult piano parts handled very well by Alberti.

These are ultra-modern works with a whiff of avant jazz lurking in the inner workings of the music, especially in the piano parts. There is a rhythmic vitality not surprising coming from Gaslini, and thematic dynamics in both a dramatic series of andantes and some introspective adagios.

A ten-minute palate cleanser is given us between the bookend concertos by means of the "Adagio is Beautiful" (1998) work for strings.

Whether or not you are familiar with his jazz recordings, this volume comes through with harmonically rich, lushly modern pieces that hold up after a number of hearings and reveal themselves bit-by-bit thanks to excellent performances from all concerned.

It is a winner on all counts. Gaslini fans and modernists will take readily to this music. Encore!

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