Richard Galliano / Nino Rota 4764615

. . . the mix is certainly tempting ¿ Nino Rota's timeless movie themes interpreted by an elite international jazz quintet featuring Dave Douglas on trumpet, John Surman on reeds, Boris Kozlov on bass and Clarence Penn on drums . . . The group's jazz energies make the biggest difference in the engine-room, with the superb Kozlov and Penn applying circus-music strutting, 1950s Miles Davis swing-groove hipness, brooding drama and New Orleans funeral-march rhythms as needed. Douglas's brassy, slewing lines whirl across "La Strada-Tema" and he and Surman then switch into 50s Miles Davies mode over Penn's rimshots ¿ with the saxophonist probably delivering his most straight-ahead recording in decades. "La Strada Processione" is a Carla Bley-style dirge; "The Godfather Love Theme" is exquisitely played by Galliano against only a bass commentary; Surman sounds Sidney Bechet-like on "La Notti di Cabiria"; and "Giuglietta Degli Spiriti" is gurgly free-improv that turns into a Latin dance. They are beautiful themes, and this set prioritises their sympathetic rendition.

There's nothing like a great accordion recording ¿ really. There's something inherently romantic and charmingly evocative about the Italian (or French) style of music . . . Jazz musician Richard Galliano shows this much-maligned and abused instrument at its best ¿ you know, recalling those enticing scenes of old-world cafés, lonely, narrow, meandering streets, and many moods of love and longing, that even in gaiety carries a melancholy undertone. And Galliano has chosen a master evocateur in Nino Rota, whose film music has captivated millions while memorably capturing all manner of moods, characters, scenes, places, and periods. Interestingly, the first sound we hear is not an accordion but a solo trombone (played by Galliano), intoning a mournful rendition of the famous theme from "The Godfather" . . . [a] program with one delightful take after another on Rota's unforgettable tunes and musical theme-paintings. One of the more affecting is the group's soulful, faithfully rendered "Love theme" from the "Godfather". And indeed, these interpretations are not "take-offs" but true tributes to Rota's original conceptions, so if you already know the music you will be able to easily get into the groove and appreciate whatever personal coloring and flavoring these fine musicians may offer . . . what about a really cool, jazz-flavored program of some of the best, most memorable music of our lifetime? Have I convinced you? Just let me say that this is an offer that you shouldn't refuse.

He's a virtuoso whose musicianship is complete within itself, almost orchestral; he barely needs anyone or anything else, a bandleader or body of song, to carry out his vision. He can be dazzling with the simplest tune or the most complex . . . Mr. Galliano gives the melodies their prominence: what stays in your head after they¿re over are Rota's huge, beautiful, whistleable themes . . . it's imitative or impressionistic, approaching idealized notions of circus bands, 1950s New York jazz, the New Orleans jazz funeral . . . there is some real improvisation here and there on this record . . . it can be startling when it breaks out . . . both Mr. Galliano and Mr. Surman absolutely throw down, hesitating and teasing and letting you hear the whole sound of their instruments. Those are the places where the record comes into its own and establishes a unique identity . . . jumpy, precise and mischievous.

. . . [a] delightful CD from the world's finest jazz accordionist . . . The themes are mostly presented in a straight-forward way, without fancy arrangements, to highlight the terrific Rota melodies. Nobility and simplicity are qualities of the music that the performers bring out. Galliano chose musicians with a variety of cultural backgrounds. Reed player John Surman is an amazing British musician and freethinker . . . The album closes with a Galliano composition he intended to mediate between New Orleans and Italy and shows that Rota's music is truly universal.

Richard Galliano ist ein gern gesehener Gast der Festivals: Ein freundlicher, eleganter Franzose, der seinem Akkordeon wohltönende Klänge entlockt . . . Galliano findet in ihm [Rota] einen Seelenverwandten ¿ mit seinen melancholischen Melodien und seinem Hang zur Volksmusik. Und Galliano schafft zusammen mit brillanten Partnern wie dem Trompeter Dave Douglas und dem Saxophonisten John Surman auch diesmal den Spagat: Was zu Beginn nach wohlfeilen, aber simplen Arrangements klingt, entpuppt sich als perfekter Crossover, bei dem die getragenen Melodien in wunderbar verspielte Improvisationen übergehen . . . "Nino Rota" ist ein wunderbares Album, das einmal mehr zeigt, was für ein großartiges Instrument das Akkordeon ist und wie man melancholisches Pathos und coolen Jazz miteinander vereinen kann.

Durch die Wahl der Musiker -- der amerikanische Trompeter Dave Douglas und der britische Saxophonist John Surman sowie äußerst sensible agierende Rhythmiker -- scharte er ein Team um sich, das sich als die ideale Besetzung für das Projekt herausstellte. Wie umfassend sich Galliano mit Rotas Klangwelt auseinandergesetzt hat und wie effektvoll er sie mit seinen Vorstellungen verbindet, demonstriert er bereits auf den ersten beiden Titeln. Bei "Waltz" aus Coppolas Mafia-Epos "The Godfather" erweist er sich zudem als einfühlsamer Posaunist . . . [die Formation fasziniert] aufgrund ihrer verschiedenen Klangfarben. Durch die folkloristischen Elemente in John Surmans Improvisation wird Gallianos Beitrag bereichert. Nachdem sich die beiden mit elegischen Parts zu übertreffen suchen, kommt durch Douglas' swingende Trompeten-Chorusse wieder das pralle Leben zurück. Vom Barock zu spritziger Musette, über Folklore zum Jazz holt sich Galliano Anregungen aus unterschiedlichen musikalischen Quellen. Es gibt für ihn keine unüberwindbaren Barrieren.

Für Richard Galliano, einen Gratwanderer zwischen Klassik, Volksmusik und Jazz, sind die Filmmusiken von Nino Rota die ideale Herausforderung. Sein Quintett lässt den Stücken . . . ihren volkstümlichen Charme und verwandelt sie doch . . . in virtuose, leicht sentimentale Kunstwerke.