Stefano Bollani

Gershwin & More Live

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Stefano Bollani plays four separate duo concerts with drummer Roberto Gatto on this two-CD compilation., focusing almost exclusively on the works of George Gershwin. But even though this music is familiar to jazz fans, his approach to it is a bit different. He darts in and out of the theme of "But Not for Me," then tackles "Rhapsody in Blue" as a down-home boogie-woogie tune, while he meanders around quite a bit before working his way into "The Man I Love." His humor comes across especially in the wild romp through "Strike Up the Band," as if playing for fast-paced cartoon of the 1940s, including a detour into a bit of fast stride piano. An offbeat treatment of the standard "We'll Be Together Again" and Gatto's playful bop vehicle "Javierto" round out disc one. A second series of Gershwin tunes, recorded two years later, open the second half of this release. Many of the same songs are played, though it is a percussive, somewhat rambling "Summertime" that sounds freshest. The track listed asBollani's original "Ribaltone" is actually the well-known "Detour Ahead," played in a rather tense manner. Finally, there's an unusually eerie, spacious arrangement of "Body and Soul." While Bollani's adventurous spirit occasionally leads him astray, he is commended for trying to give these very familiar songs a fresh sound. Gatto provides sensitive support throughout each performance.