Stefano Bollani: Joy in Spite of Everything

Joy in Spite of Everything
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Artist: Stefano Bollani
Genre: Jazz
Label: ECM

Italian pianist Stefano Bollani is a cheerful soul, on record and in person. For his latest release, recorded in New York last summer, he has recruited a star- studded trans-Atlantic quintet of the similarly disposed. Saxophonist Mark Turner, soon to make his own ECM debut as leader, can do bright and profound at the same time, while guitarist Bill Frisell is one of the greatest living examples of a "genre-blind" musician who reaches for joy every time he touches his instrument. Bollani's compositions are positively uplifting, ranging stylistically from calypso to north African to Thelonious Monk. They reveal a pianist with a rare sensibility, intent on chasing down joy wherever he finds it, aware of the dark side, but prepared to smile in spite of it. Happy days.

Cormac Larkin

Cormac Larkin

Cormac Larkin, a contributor to The Irish Times, is a musician, writer and director