“Lorsque deux magnifiques pianistes s’adonnent à l’improvisation sur un même clavier, cela donne une musique pleine de surprises et d’émotion, à condition qu’ils aient tous deux une grande connaissance de l’histoire de la musique improvisée et de la musique en général, une technique sans faille et des dons pour l’harmonie. C’est tout à fait le cas dans ce très beau disque”Martial Solal
“Great playing and improvisations”Uri Caine
“A great album, filled with fascinations from many different musical worlds. A truly inspiring work”Stefano Zenni
Liner notes for Memories of the Last Century
In the jazz field, unlike in the ‘cultured’ sphere, the piano duo has never had too much luck. Of course, there have been such experiments. For example, the “strange couple” Count Basie-Oscar Peterson, the John Lewis-Hank Jones duo, the Herbie Hancock-Chick Corea duo, again Chick Corea with Friedrich Gulda or Stefano Bollani. But these were dictated by the curiosity to mix and match famous names and different styles, if not for purely commercial reasons.
The result often combined a lack of stylistic homogeneity with timbral and expressive monotony with the additional risk, being the piano a “chordal” instrument par excellence, of a harmonic overlap that overloads the vertical dimension in comparison to the horizontal one.
Inspired by the duo of Paul Bley with the German pianist Hans Ludemann and their Moving Hearts of ’93, one of the few successful experiments of a ‘free’ piano duo, the pianists Arrigo Cappelletti and Pietro Girardi propose a different model, also compared to that of the duo Bley-Ludemann.
In the first place they choose the formula of the 4-hands piano, which in comparison to that of the classical piano duo allows a greater economy of means. The road is not that of self-affirmation but of a progressive cancellation of all that is inessential or superfluous, scales, arpeggios, trills, all the baroque and narcissistic paraphernalia that pianists usually find difficult to avoid.
Secondly, their improvisations do not move from recognizable chordal themes or structures, but develop in total freedom, according to a model of ‘free’ 4-handed improvisation that perhaps no one had experienced before them.
All this without forgetting a series of musical influences ranging from Satie to tango, from Debussy to Monk, from Jarrett and Bley to Ligeti, and which make their adventurous progress fun, sometimes unpredictable.
Precisely because of this plurality of languages evidently present in their improvisations and in any case always attributable to the musical climate of the twentieth century, Cappelletti and Girardi have chosen the title “Memories of The Last Century” for their duo’s upcoming cd.
Press for Memories of the Last Century
Piano duo recordings have become rare these days in the playing field of jazz, whereas there should be many more.
The pianist Uri Caine himself have recorded many gems in duo with Paolo Fresu, Dave Douglas, the clarinetist Joel Rubin, the percussionist Han Bennik, but also with the pianist Jenny Lin.
Uri Caine is absolutely right in expressing his appreciation for “Memories Of The Last Century”, in which the two pianists bring us in an exciting journey: from impressionistic atmospheres to free jazz-influenced sounds, this record also offers a lot of tempo and blues moments.
Both pianists have more than enough jazz experience, Arrigo Cappelletti with Jeff Hershfield and Gianni Coscia and Pietro Girardi with many jazz bands in the Venice area.
(Magazine “Concerto”, August/September 2018)