30 Apr We Live Here review @Jazz Views
The pieces on this CD, composed by de Finti and Dall’Ora, combine to form a five part suite (separated by Intros 1 to 4). The CD begins with de Finti toying with a simple rising and falling series of notes which then develops with chords and arpeggios into a more developed piece in the first part of the suite. The development involves not only the rhythm section picking up on the tentative rising and falling theme, but also Mena’s recapitulation of the theme. This sets the pattern for the rest of the CD. Each piece runs for around 10 minutes, recalling sections from the earlier pieces and creating a coherent whole across the suite. De Finti’s playing is very atmospheric, evoking space and stillness, with the rolling cymbals lending a sense of trepidation to the overall experience. Against this, Mena’s playing, particularly on flugelhorn, calls to mind a classical orchestra. In the liner notes, Da Finti writes ‘I was looking for the right sound, silence, an acoustic atmosphere, with the intensity of a classical chamber ensemble.’ The compositions and the playing certainly have an affinity with the chamber ensemble, but the pieces themselves and their development are definitely in the spectrum of jazz ballads. What is interesting is that, rather than rely on a 12 bar blues progression, the pieces have a more subtle overarching structure that allows a theme to develop (often, to my ears, in the manner of modal jazz) and for the themes to be revisited as the suite progresses.
This is composing of the highest order, and the improvised fills on Mena on trumpet pushes the pieces firmly into the jazz domain. Following each of Mena’s trumpet solos, Da Finti comes back in on piano with a slightly stronger edge to his playing, which he then gradually relaxes back to the gentler approach.
Reviwed by Chris Baber