Arrigo Cappelletti is Italy's Keith Jarrett, not because he more often than not plays in a solo setting, but because his diversity is truly wondrous. From classical to jazz to improvisation, Cappelletti is a musician respected by both the neo-trad jazzers and the free improvisers alike. Ananda is a concert set in which Cappelletti uses Ellington, Monk, Rodgers & Hart, and Bill Evans to arrive at the heart of his own music. Opening with a stunning if spare rendition of "Prelude to a Kiss" (everything but the harmony is removed), and then sliding first into his well-known "Reflections, No. 1" and shifting to pointillistic mode on his tribute to Paul Bley, "Bleyniana," and moving through a series of intervallic and sonant moods before coming out on the other end with Monk's "Reflections" -- this is how Cappelletti structures a concert, where timbral registers are addressed in mood and mode, chromatic syntax is argued with elegance, and the ostinato flow like wine. Cappelletti then carries himself from Monk to "You Are Too Beautiful," and then back into his own takes on Tristano's interval phrasing as he chooses three or four scalar inventions to get him to Bill Evans and Duke Ellington while visiting Bartok and Schubert along the way. Finally, Capelletti moves through his own tunes, four of them to nearly close the set, touching on improvisational fragments as well as full-blown harmonic ideas and rhythmic inventions before pulsing his way into "Monk's Mood" to close it out breathlessly. This, like Keith Jarrett's Köln Concert or his Bremen-Lausanne discs, is essential modern piano music that reveals a master working through his own musical epiphanies in front of a live audience. Amazing.
AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek