There is an element of the cinematic and symphonic in how the musical ideas develop…
Luca Aquino: trumpet, flugelhorn, trombone; Emiliano d’Auria: piano, rhodes, synth; Giacomo Ancillotto: electric guitar; Dario Miranda: double bass; Ermanno Baron: drums
Recorded 12th-14th December 2019 by Davide Grotta at Cotton Lab Studios, Ascoli Piceno, Italy
The opening track is ‘Le cirque des regardes’ (which my clumsy translation has something like the circus of looks, and I’m not sure how to interpret this).
Following the ‘circus’ theme, we have ‘The Acrobat’, track 4 and the title, track 3 – all suggesting some sort of reaching after balance for entertainment (perhaps?).
The misspelt title ‘Mindfullness’, track 6, suggests an over-brimming mind that is seeking solace or, perhaps, balance. While ‘Losing opinions’, track 7, and ‘Nobody lies, everybody teases’, track 9, suggest an imbalance in conversation and society.
Sticking with the notion that d’Auria’s compositions are striving for balance, there is plenty in the playing of the quintet that gently disturbs, disrupts and displaces melody and rhythm in order for the tune to be brought back to its safe harbour.
From another perspective, you could say that the quintet might be illustrating the Nash Equilibrium which, in game-theory, states that no player can ‘win’ by altering their strategy when they know what the strategy of the other players.
Of course, the aim in music making is not to ‘win’, but in discovering and working within the ‘strategies’ of the other players becomes an important element in group playing.
While each player has the opportunity to carry the melody or to find a new direction for the tune to explore, there is little sense of grandstanding soloing here. Rather, the quintet move together in a carefully coordinated and synchronised manner.
This is not solely the result of d’Auria’s delightfully constructed pieces but also a common purpose and sense of direction in the band.
There are a few places where the band step back to allow the piano to express the original roots of the composition, but as soon as the band step back to play there is something much bigger than the elaboration of a tune from a solo instrument.
The penultimate track, ‘The call of water’, is a departure from the arrangements and style of the other tracks – working a strong ‘musique concrete’ with experimental electronics vibe. This was intriguing and I wonder if it presages a direction the band will pursue on later recordings?
As with all the other compositions, though, there is an element of the cinematic and symphonic in the way in which the musical ideas develop.
And I felt that there was also a tension raised in this piece that was resolved in the closing track, ‘Nobody lies, everybody teases’, which seems to pick up threads of the melody and develop these into a warmly consoling tune with glorious trumpet playing (one place where the solo does seem to pull away from the band but where the band wholeheartedly support him).
Reviewed by Chris Baber