Monday, November 23, 2020

Record Review: The Invisible Child by Andrea Marcelli (2019)

The Invisible Child, an album of unreleased and live recordings by Italian jazz drummer Andrea Marcelli arrived at the right moment: listened to during the second lockdown, it's an album about spaces and distances, about solitude and togetherness.

Distances, a track in the album, offers some explanation, both in the choice of title and the story it tells of our lives during the time of physical distancing. It acknowledges the gloom but remains hopeful, moves forward and adds colour to the grey moments.

The "invisible child" in Marcelli hasn't ceased to wonder since he became the first Italian to record a solo album for the Verve back in 1989. (The resulted LP, Silent Will, featuring Wayne Shorter, was successful enough to lead to a second recording and Marcelli's subsequent move to the US where he lived for 12 years before moving back to Europe and this time settling in Berlin.) The album covers the last two decades of his musical life, confirming that it has been worthwhile in every sense.

The majority of compositions are by Marcelli or written in collaboration with his band-mates. Yet, those which are not his (Bach, Verdi and Duke Ellington) should tell as much about Marcelli as the originals.

In spite of a certain air of solitude that the album established with its opening track, the elegantly melancholic Siciliano in which Marcelli plays a lilting clarinet, the album is a victory against "distances" in its internationalist nature as musicians of at least seven different nationalities are involved.