Tania Giannouli Trio
In Fading Light
Greek pianist, composer and improviser Tania Giannouli has been part of the Rattle family for a decade now – this is her fourth release with the imprint, beginning with 2012’s Forest Stories and moving through 2015’s Transcendence on to a set of musical dialogues with Rob Thorne. Her she leads a trio – but when you think piano trio you think jazz. And you think pianist out in front of a bass and drums rhythm section. You think of players like Bill Evans as a gold standard.
Giannouli’s trio for In Fading Light features trumpet (Andreas Pplyzogopoulos) and oud (Kyriakos Tapakis).
And, yes, it’s jazz – in an exploratory, improvisatory, conversational sense but it’s actually more a case of this being that “third” music; the space down the back of jazz’s couch where a type of darker classical musical likes to hide. In Fading Light’s shrieking trumpet and striding piano and urgent oud – darting in and out of its duel roles as rhythm comping and melody making/accentuating – would be perfect to score films, some of this recording feels like it could already be repurposed as movie soundtrack. Other parts of it reminds me of Stanley Clarke, Al Di Meola and Jean-Luc Ponty’s neo-classical collaboration, The Rite of Strings. Similar musical line-up and arranging, that album featuring Clarke’s bass in place of the piano, Di Meola’s guitar work instead of oud and Ponty’s electric violin over trumpet. But as far as sound-conjuring goes there is a similarity, a familiarity for me since Rite of Strings has been one of my favourite meditative listens across the last quarter century.
The other real strength of this album – beyond the interplay, which subtly dazzles – is Giannouli’s compositional ability. I’m reminded of some moments Chris Abrahams offers with The Necks; that twilight mood, the slowly creeping darkness, the framing of it coming from the piano’s restraint.
Worth mentioning is that this is one of the first albums from Rattle’s new initiative of creating CDs on demand. So, you can access this via the label’s Bandcamp as a digital set of files or if you are a CD buyer/collector then you can pay $45 to have your own copy made and sent out, beautifully packaged as is the label’s hallmark. However you choose to have this you should most definitely want to hear it.
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