ANDREA MORELLI — Andrea Morelli e Silvia Belfiore : DIFFRAZIONE (review)

ANDREA MORELLI — Andrea Morelli e Silvia Belfiore : DIFFRAZIONE album cover Album · 2020 · Third Stream Buy this album from MMA partners
4.5/5 ·
Since the introduction of the term "third stream" in the early 60s, there were many recordings released trying to combine jazz and classical music, with mixed success. Way too often the two genres crossover sounded like classic compositions adaptating to more modern sound by adding jazzy rhythms and arrangements, or contrarily - moving jazz bands to the music hall and extracting from their music groove and joy, leaving bloodless sterile compositions.

There still have been some successful examples of the concept, and Italian reedist Andrea Morelli's "Diffrazione" is one of them. Taking twelve compositions, written by two grands of the transition era from classic music era to modern days, Frenchman Eric Satie and American Duke Ellington. He adapted them for modern chamber sax/flute - piano duo with great success.

Eric Satie, French composer known from his compositions for piano, written in the end of the 19th century, isn't all that often cited by jazz musicians. Recognized as an avant-garde composer of sorts by his contemporaries, Satie wrote many short pieces where he rejected the classic idea of musical development, building the basis for coming soon minimalism, but still leaving a lot of romanticism elements in it.

"Diffrazione" contains eight short Satie pieces (mostly all popular "Gnossiennes","Gymnopedies" plus "Sarabande" and "Je te veux", all written between 1887 and 1913), all played by the duo of Andrea and Italian pianist Silvia Belfiore. All of them are musical pieces of exceptional beauty, sounding slightly melancholic but without nostalgia, with an excellent level of emotional taste. Warm and deep chamber sound brings the listener to characteristic atmosphere of European salon on the edge of nineteen and twenties centuries, leaving the old world for soon coming modern one, with all its expectations and troubles.

The album content's other half - five Ellington songs (written between 1928 and 1967). They are ambassadors of a new world here - more rhythmical, obviously less related with old-European classic legacy, and - much more optimistic. Still, adopted for chamber duo, Ellington songs sound softer, better rounded and with many emotional colors, more common for European music.

Placed in the album's program as almost always interchanging, Satie and Ellington musical compositions always differ by their mood, but surprisingly well fit, balancing each other. Altogether, they build that fragile form of jazz and classic crossover which balances on the edge between two genres never crossing the borders and producing music of new quality.

On the album's closer - Ellington's "Angelica" - duo is extended to trio, adding drummer Alessandro Garau. This gives more rhythmic qualities to the composition, which is quite playful itself, and perfectly closes the program on joyful, optimistic note.

Album's title "Diffrazione" means "diffraction", or deviation of waves from main trajectory (the effect, first observed by Italian Francesco Maria Grimaldi, by the way). On Morelli "Diffrazione" the listener can observe the deviation from classical and jazz main trajectories with an elegance and big respect to the source.

You don't need to be a fan of jazz or classics, or both, you don't even need to know all this music terms and tags - this is the music for everyone, excellent combination of taste and master ship.
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