Thursday, January 29, 2015

Listening to Andrea Marcelli Trio

It's almost miraculous that the combination of a classic jazz trio (piano, bass, drums) and the American songbook can sustain its freshness and elements if surprise after decades of being practiced and rethought.

Maybe like that old standard, Say It Over And Over Again, the beauty of the classic trio reveals and definitely perfects itself in repetition and recurrence.

Whatever the case, if one adds to that magical combination a Roman sensitivity, which is evident through the musical career of Andrea Marcelli, then the result would be something like Sundance, a 9 year old record by Andrea Marcelli Trio which I discovered recently.

A Berlin-based group, the Trio features the leader on drums, Danish Thomas Clausen on piano and an Italian Davide Petrocca on bass.

The recording in question, is celebrating both the old and the new: there are standards (by Gillespie, Porter, Ellington), as well as originals by Andrea Marcelli and his contemporary Italian composers.

The reissue of the album in 2012 presents two bonus tracks, one of which, O Cessate di Piagarmi, can be heard here and I hope it gives a taste of the intensity and beauty of the group:

Andrea Marcelli, a Roman Berliner, studied clarinet at Conservatory Licino Refice in Rome. Though he later chose to play drums, clarinet remained an instrument to which he occasionally, and graciously, returned. A recent example is At the Schlachtensee, a track from Berlin Album by Ekkehard Wölk which I have previously reviewed here.

Andrea maintained 6 long years at Italian national TV, RAI, as a drummer. From the mid-1980s, he was engaged in composing for jazz combos, as well as TV and film. His fist solo albums, as a jazz drummer, came out around the same time.

A move to the US put him in the middle of LA and NYC jazz scenes where he spent, respectively, 8 and 4 years. He performed enthusiastically and recorded extensively of which two albums were issued by Verve in the early 1990s. (They are Silent Will and Oneness.)

In 2001 he moved back to Europe, this time to Berlin, which is also where I saw him live last year, at B-Flat jazz club.

Aside from local and regular appearances, Marcelli has performed in some of the most exciting places on plant earth such as New Delhi, Beirut, and Maputo, as well as the usual places a jazz musician go to, namely Europe, Japan and North America.

Andrea Marcelli's career makes a long lists of collaborations and recordings. I don't intend to get into details of it any extent, but some of the names which I personally admire include Wayne Shorter, David Liebman, Don Menza, Eddie Gomez, Marc Johnson, Wolfgang Lackerschmid, Sam Most, and Harold Land.

Having mentioned the name of at least two Bill Evans bassists on the list, I wanted to point out that if Evans was alive, Andrea Marcelli could have been his drummer of choice.

"We need to trust each other," writes Marcelli in his accompanying notes to the CD release, "that is why I like jazz so much, because in jazz I can find what I am too often missing in life."

Through this recording, we, too, might find some of the missing pieces of our lives. If so, that can be a trio recording's most extraordinary achievement.

The album is available in the US here, and for the UK buyers, here.

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