Claudio Filippini is back with his latest studio-recorded album, as a celebration of the 10-year artistic partnership with his trio including Luca Bulgarelli on double bass and Marcello Di Leonardo on drums. Here, more than ever, one can say “nomen omen”: a record that squares the circle in the career of this pianist from Abruzzo and shows that he has artistically matured into one of the most sophisticated performers on the Italian jazz scene. Filippini explains: “Nearly all the languages of the world use the verb “to play” to mean both engaging in recreation and performing music. It seems to me that both meanings have perfectly blended into this album and its spontaneously born reinterpretations of standards from the American songbook.” Indeed, “Squaring The Circle” unfolds out of a revisitation of a number of standards that were chosen and performed from a different point of view. After just a three-day recording session of 50 tunes picked at random out of that huge treasure chest of the US jazz repertory, Filippini’s trio decided to make an album out of those tracks that could serve as fertile ground for plotting each trio member’s improvisations and, above all, reveal the trio’s way of playing with notes. This resulted in an album rich in nuances and charm, revealing a powerful empathy among the trio-mates, who show an undisputable command of their own instruments as well as that playful, easy mood rather uncommon in recordings of this kind. If at times Filippini delights in upsetting harmony and altering pieces radically (as is the case with Impressions), at other times compositions remain unchanged, though striking in the impulsive urgency of their performance (Autumn Leaves, Jitterbug Waltz). There are tracks with a more classical flavour here (I Didn’t Know What Time It Was) alternating with those enhanced through a skilful, moderate use of electronics (‘Round Midnight, Stolen Moments). Filippini’s fine arrangements and unique touch in refined piano-playing make this all-standards album a timeless, ever-elegant nugget. He carries out a two-fold job, straddling tradition and innovation: on the one hand he draws on standards, on the other hand he includes hints at electronic and psychedelic music. An exquisite work, meticulously thought out, though with a directness and freshness that are fully conveyed by the excellent interplay of the three musicians.
Recorded and mixed in Cavalicco on 30 - 31 October 2013 at Artesuono Recording Studio
Recording & mixing engineer Stefano Amerio
Photos by Andrea Boccalini
Liner notes by Daniela Floris