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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Jimmy Giuffre: again about the noble art of jazz trio

There is a record which the beloved ECM recently reissued in a luxury, 180 grams double vinyl format, a recording which is someway a musical mistery (read here below).

Jimmy Giuffre on clarinet, Paul Bley on piano and Steve Swallow on double-bass created a masterpiece: recorded in 1961 under Creed Taylor producing and Dick Olmstead's masterful recording and engineering, it was previously issued on Verve as a two separate records titled "Fusion" and "Thesis".

The master-tapes had possibly a few hands swappings in the decades, maybe returned the property of Jimmy Giuffre's Estate or something... anyway the recordings were reissued several years ago for ECM as a two-records set...

The trio is a true supergroup, all the members are leaders; the music is angular, cool, icy in shapes and meanings, flowing under the diamond needle like lava.

Mr. Olmstead, the recordist, recorded the musicians in few hours in two sessions spanning few days in an high ceiling, large studio using the best mike ever: a stereo AKG C-24 microphone.

From the beautiful cover B/W shots you see a pipe-smoking Bley and two algid, neat looking Swallow and Giuffre on wood studio-risers and the C-24 on a mike-boom: that's it... enough for creating a timeless masterpiece... not without these stellar musicians, of course.

The music is so pure, perfect... the recording, you'd bet it, is the Best of the VERY Best!

The clarinet is right side, the double bass super centered, deeeeep and rich of over-tones and the piano... at left... the sounds come from well beyond the speakers outer boundaries, with an absolutely stunning, huge soundstage, both deep and wide.

Dynamics are simply perfect... limitless from ppp to FFF, solo and tutti...

A truly perfect record: a desert island one, the best spent EUR 30 - the cost of the 180 gr./2lps ECM reissue - of the year, period.

Do you a favour... buy this double vinyl record-set, while stock lasts.

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