This is all about romanticism and beauty, a naturalistic arc at play always with the Italian pianist Giovanni Guidi, this latest studio album recorded in France extending his core unit by adding sax and guitar on a few tracks. Opening with the Léo Ferré-penned title track immediately we are in richly melodic territory and Guidi has that impossibly persuasive touch that invites us warmly in, the bass of Thomas Morgan almost desultorily picking out wistful ideas towards the end. Most of the tunes are Guidi’s and while the extra players bring variety I think the charm of the album lies in the trio tracks. A nice touch is the homage to the late Tomasz Stanko at the end. SG

Taborn and Iyer

There is an elegiac mood in this remarkable two-piano album from Iyer and Taborn, certainly in the spread of memorialising pieces, the choice of Cecil Taylor’s words in the title, and the all-pervasive sombre mood. But instead of grim endeavour carried through in a spirit of worthiness there is an alert, spirited life force at play and a great understanding that the two demonstrate of each other’s method and ideas. Recorded live in Budapest the live setting gives this a taut electricity and strength, all the tunes are Iyer and Taborn’s with a treat at the end reserved for Geri Allen’s ‘When Kabuya Dances’. If you want to know what the state of the art of jazz piano is look no further than this fine achievement by two masters at work. SG

Pretty unradio-friendly given the length of the tracks, each of the three clocks in at more than 20 minutes, the middle piece ‘Spartan Before It Hit’ ups the core trio ante by adding strings, the piano of Craig Taborn, and extra guitars. This is deftly exploratory improvising, Torn and Berne dancing around airy, tense fragments that summon a certain menace and this album overall has plenty of severity about it, an open feeling too thanks often to the way rhythm is sub divided or just shrinks back, and a sense that the trio are playing without any safety net. While easy to admire it is harder to fully embrace, yes the pieces are too long and there is a good deal of development that does not necessarily deliver the impact that this trio is capable of. The middle piece with the extra players is where the album really comes alive so go there first. SG