An album to luxuriate in as Sabino de Bari and Diana Torti embrace jazz, improvisation, contemporary classical and ancient music in an intoxicating and eclectic programme.

Self Release – Available from Bandcamp

Sabino de Bari (guitar, compositions, lyrics); Diana Torti (vocals, lyrics)

Recorded December 2022

Quite simply, this is a lovely album. Full of beauty and tenderness with a healthy dose of humility, this is what music is all about. There is a sparseness about the arrangements and delivery that focusses the attention on the smallest detail in de Bari’s guitar playing and every nuance of Torti’s voice in an exquisite marriage of words and music.

Broad in scope the songs are described as reflection on the world in which we live in all its beauty, and the effect that humankind has had on the planet and its inhabitants. From wars, capitalism and slavery it is possible to paint an ugly picture of humanity, but there is as always, a positivity that can be sought in the future if one looks hard enough.

De Bari and Torti share enough common ground to make such a project work, despite being very different musicians. The guitarist is steeped in traditional music and classically trained, and a distinguished composer.

Diana Torti is a natural improviser and brings with her a way of phrasing and expressing a lyric that floats in the air yet is inextricably bound to the composition. This gives the impression that the music can go in any direction at any moment yet is so skilfully delivered that her voice draws the listener completely into her sound world.

The delightful ‘Sonhos De Marcelo’ is a perfectly executed wordless vocal that shadows the guitar in a counter melody of extraordinary beauty. Elsewhere the couple draw influence from poems of Emily Dickinson and Christina Rossetti, as well as two compositions with lyrics by Diana in ‘Beyond Clouds’ and ‘In Spite of Everything’.

Both of these songs capture a delicate side of the vocalist’s craft that are totally compelling, with ‘Beyond Clouds’ conveying a dreamy and quiet reflection on human relationships. ‘In Spite of Everything’ concludes the album on an optimistic note that suggesting that the past can be put behind us and we should look to the future with a positive outlook.

In each of the eleven compositions that make up this ultimately uplifting album, guitar and voice weave a magical web whose individual strands draw the material together to form a cohesive whole.

The words of Emily Dickinson are no stranger to jazz and classical musicians alike and de Bari writes some lovely melodies for Dickinson’s prose on ‘A Little Road Not Made Of Man’ albeit with a very economical role for the guitar on ‘It’s All I Have To Bring Today’ and ‘Hope’. On these latter two songs the meaning falls on Torti’s shoulders to convey, and she does not falter in doing so.

An album to luxuriate in as Sabino de Bari and Diana Torti embrace jazz, improvisation, contemporary classical and ancient music in an intoxicating and eclectic programme.

Reviewed by Nick Lea