Acoustic guitarist SIMONE GUIDUCCI is back with a new record, Chorale, again accompanied by the brilliant and inseparable Gramelot Ensemble along with a clutch of guest musicians familiar from the international jazz scene. Chorale marks a significant step on in Guiducci's pursuit of folk/jazz hybrid forms, a quest he has been on for several years now and which his previous album, the delightful Cantador showed to be rich in potential. The dialogue gets sharper and tighter on Chorale, opening out onto new horizons. Much more stress is placed on the collective dimension of music making, yet without clouding out the beauty mined by each individual player. To bring together the ancient and modern, the regional and international is Guiducci's stated aim. A hard task in anybody's book, yet the combination of experience and musical sensibility allow him to negotiate these treacherous currents without drowning in a storm of witless fusak.
GUIDUCCI choices his themes and structures with care, surrounding himself with a group of players who are up to the toughest of challenges. But his role as director takes nothing away from his own qualities as a musician, as he demonstrates in the string of limpid solos that punctuate the record.
What distinguishes the tracks on Chorale is the attention to melody, heightened by some refined, delicate arrangements that weave a sophisticated tapestry which is at the same time extremely hummable. A difficult balancing act achieved partly thanks to the presence of the guests musicians rallied together to bolster the core elements of the GRAMELOT ENSEMBLE. The contributions of trumpet player Ralph Alessi on Gramelot in 6/8 and on the album's title track veer close to perfection, while Erik Friedlander adds the unmistakable sound of his cello to La Sigagna and The After Hours in a synthesis of Jewish, classical and jazz musics. Voccuccia de no Piérzeco meanwhile gives jazz singer Maria Pia de Vito the chance to unleash her highly individual singing style on ethnic music, filtered through a voice that is at once edgy and warm. Of equal interest is the work of clarinettist Chris Speed, whose own past experiences share some affinity with the GUIDUCCI vibe. To say nothing of "Balkan jazz" sax player, Nicolas Simion who goes about his usual business of twisting the feelings and colours of his native Romania into thrilling new shapes.
GUIDUCCI Simone Gramelot Ensemble from Felmay Shop