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Cream of Mandarins

Artist: Jonathan Gee

Date of Release: 01/01/2004

Catalogue no: Art 026

Label: Artesuono

Price: £12

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Track Listing

No

 

Title

Duration

1

 

the flow (gallo)

2.31

2

 

cristiana (minetto)

3

 

velvet cloud (gee)

5.28

4

 

wishbone (gee)

2.59

5

 

lullaby of birdland (shearing)

4.28

6

 

ali di farfalla, per maria (gallo)

8.06

7

 

cream of mandarins (gee)

3.31

8

 

tortadilla (gee)

2.33

9

 

come by j.t. (gee)

3.06

10

 

three views of rialto (gee, gallo, minetto)

7.10

11

 

part I jonathan

12

 

part II danilo

1.14

13

 

part III alessandro

1.59

14

 

part IV together

5.37

 

 

 

 

Cream of Mandarins features Jonanthan Gee piano, Danilo Gallo double bass, Alessandro Minetto drums

 

Reviews

 

01/03/2005 Kenny Mathieson, Jazz Wise

"...this is deft, thoughtful and imaginative playing in the classic piano trio format, with obvious roots in American jazz models, but overlaid with a distinctly European feel and sensibility."

 

01/02/2005 Chris Parker, Jazz Review, ~ Editor's Choice

"Brought together for 2003's Appennine Jazz Festival, this trio gelled immediately, and has subsequently toured extensively and recorded this thoroughly absorbing, wide-ranging but artistically focused album. Although most of the group's material (a rollicking, tumultuous visit to George Shearing's 'Lullaby of Birdland' aside) is composed by band members and consists of relatively structured pieces, the album, as if setting out its stylistic stall, begins with a burst of free jazz. Thereafter, each bandmember provides highly distinctive compositions. Gee's are usually shortish, concise, neat; Gallo's are darker-hued, slowly unfurling; Minetto's are brisk but graceful.

Very much a fiercely interactive, democratic trio, the band moves easily and unaffectedly between comparatively straightforward jaunty propulsiveness, in which Gee impishly plays with the time, and more contemplative, occasionally almost convoluted pieces, texturally and dynamically varied but negotiated with insouciant aplomb by all three men. Impeccably recorded, so that Minetto's extraordinarily nuanced cymbal work and Gallo's alternately loping and taut bass are captured in all their richness, this is a remarkably assured trio that lavishly rewards repeated listenings."

 

17/12/2004 John Fordham, The Guardian

"Maybe it isn't coincidental that the artwork of this Italian-produced album shares some similarities with the soft-textured minimalism of ECM discs. Quite a lot of the acoustic piano trio music herein is ruminative, and a certain amount abrasively uncompromising, so it's certainly a session that falls into the freewheeling contemporary - creative category rather than a swing disc celebrating standards. But since the pianist is Jonathan Gee - a fine UK player with allegiances to Keith Jarrett and McCoy Tyner - there are plenty of signposts to the familiar, and the playing is exhilaratingly fresh.

Gee usually plays with British musicians including the powerful drummer Winston Clifford, but this trio were born after the pianist's appearance at Italy's Apennine jazz festival in 2003. Bassist Danilo Gallo and drummer Alessandro Minetto are young rising stars of the Italian scene both as players and composers, and a random shot at playing together at the festival resulted in a dramatically creative band touching on the methods of Jarrett, Mehldau, Hancock and Paul Bley without attempting to clone off any of them.

Unexpectedly, the set opens with completely raw free-improv from bassist Gallo, who juxtaposes explosive chords with tinkling percussion. A more Mehldau-like idea begins to unfold, a subtly-shaded but minuscule melody with changing resolutions, followed by a conventional slow bass break from Gallo. The result on this, and the harder Velvet Cloud, is very much a group enterprise in which almost everything anybody plays finds a spontaneous answer within the band.

But not all the music is free-associating, meditative Eurojazz. Gee unleashes a barrelling Lullaby of Birdland, dismissing the famous theme in a perfunctory fashion, with Minetto's drumming a blur of cymbal smacks and crackly rim sounds. The title track, meanwhile, a quirky Latin original, has a playful bounce, while Minetto's shimmering Diamond recalls the Brad Mehldau trio insofar as its melodic core emerges very slowly".

 

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