JAZZ AT BERLIN PHILHARMONIC – MEDITERRANEO
Collaborations between jazz musicians and orchestras generally flatter neither party. The classical players, who signed on to perform Mozart and Mahler, are reduced to playing lame backgrounds, while the jazz players are straightjacketed by the surrounding inflexibility. This album breaks that mould, in the process drawing together Italian music ranging from Monteverdi to Rota, Morricone, Rossini, Leoncavallo and Puccini. The stars align with the right arranger/conductor (Norway’s Geir Lysne), the right orchestra (Berlin Philharmonic), the right featured guest (the exceptional French accordionist Vincent Peirani) and the right jazz trio (pianist Stefano Bollani, bassist Jesper Bodilsen and drummer Martin Lund).
Bollani is not only among the most captivating pianists alive, he is probably jazz’s most effervescent musician on any instrument, and he digs the playfulness out of Rota’s Amacord and Rossini’s Largo al factotum with all the joy of a child in a sandpit. Meanwhile Lysne gives the 14 august orchestra members meaty arrangements that amplify the improvising flair rather than constraining it. If you ever doubted the truth that all music is one, this will convince you.