Record of the Day: AIsha Duo, "Quiet Songs"

Record of the Day: AIsha Duo, “Quiet Songs”

Aisha Duo
Quiet Songs (Cd Obliqsound 502)

The timbral mixture created by vibraphone and marimba alone was experimented for the first time in the 70s by Double Image,
duo formed by David Friedman and David Samuels; their records have inspired many musicians to attempt similar experiences, halfway between jazz improvisation and composition. As Friedman himself writes in the liner notes of this album, «some were interesting, others were embarrassing plagiarisms. Aisha Duo, however, is something else, it is improvised chamber music full of soul and intellect.”

This definition corresponds exactly to the content of this album, created by musicians who move with equal skill in the field of classical music and jazz, curious and intelligent. Armed with a wealth of technical virtuosity that they prefer not to flaunt but to use in the service of music, Andrea Dulbecco (vibraphone) and Luca Gusella (marimba) present in this, their first album, a broad panorama of the repertoire that they have been offering in concert for years, with pages of recognized masters of jazz such as Ralph Towner (“Beneath an Evening Sky”) and Chick Corea (a wide selection from the cycle of
“Children’s Songs)” alternated with excellent pages composed by themselves such as “Blanca”, “Despertor”, “Amanda” and “Wind”, with rich, never predictable harmonies and well-designed melodic profiles of immediate singability.

Although the title and cover refer to contemplative atmospheres and the general tone of the album is relaxed and almost whispered, we are fortunately light years away from any vacuous suggestion of a New Age or background character.
Gusella and Dulbecco are expert musicians, first-class instrumentalists who hold the tiller firmly in place in a
area of ​​quality, where improvisation and composition integrate to the point of making it difficult to listen to the transition from one to the other since everything sounds natural and spontaneous.

The light percussions of Glen Velez and the cello of Marco Decimo, special guests, periodically garland the textures
of the two main soloists who interact in an almost telepathic way, with taste and notable capacity for dynamic diversification, without losing an ounce of rhythmic elasticity and remaining in an expressive sphere of total lightness.

Carlo Boccadoro, composer and conductor, was born in Macerata in 1963. He lives and works in Milan. He collaborates with soloists and orchestras in different parts of the world. He is the author of numerous books on musical topics.

This text is taken from “Lunario della musica: A record for every day of the year” published by Einaudi, courtesy of the author and the publisher.