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Reviewers: Don Mather, Tony Augarde, Dick Stafford, John Eyles, Robert Gibson, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby

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ECM ECM 1983



1. Primo Apparir
2. L’Orfeo
3. Grappoli Orfici
4. Mirage
5. Secondo Apparir
6.Al Primo Vostro Sguardo
7. The Lover’s Appeal/Terzo Apparir
8. Angela
9. El Grillo
10. Particulare di J. Donne
11. Amsterdam
12. Serenata/Matona Mia Cara
13. My Little Maid and I
14. Canto Vago
15. Far, Far Away
16. Vaghissimo Ritratto.
Gianluigi Trovesi - Alto clarinet
Umberto Petrin - Piano
Fulvio Maras - Percussion, electronics

"Is it jazz?" is an ancient cry, often preceded by "But..." to show that assumptions are being questioned. As this CD is on the ECM label, one might expect it to be a jazz album, but this is not always the case with ECM nowadays. The rather pretentious sleeve-note suggests that this album is "a journey through melody" but there aren't many tunes here which stay in the mind, let alone any that might incite you to whistle them in the street.

The album's Italian title might be translated as "hazy impression" and the overall impression is certainly indistinct. Some tracks consist of fragments rather than whole melodies. As a fan of Monteverdi's Orfeo, I was interested to hear what this trio did with one of its themes but it turns out to be merely a one-minute snatch of a tune, played twice.

In fact the group takes the work of several classical composers as a starting point - including Josquin Desprez and Orlando di Lasso, as well as using pieces by more recent tunesmiths like the Belgian composer Jacques Brel and the Italian singer Luigi Tenco. In these modern numbers one can at least discern improvisation upon a theme, but many other tracks either state tunes virtually straight or are in "free jazz" mode and seem like uncoordinated doodling.

The excellent recording, enhancing everything with plenty of echo, makes for some entrancing sounds, but one might still question how close this comes to jazz. It may sound lovely but has it really got much substance?

Tony Augarde


Gerard Hoffnung CDs

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