Umberto Petrin


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This modest, light, and airy aural tour of Italian folk melodies (whether real or simulated) succeeds largely due to the well-integrated harmonies, excellent improvisational skills of the performers, and tight arrangements. Playing jazz on the accordion is a tough act, but Renato Borghetti seems to do it effortlessly, though the results are never too demanding on the listener. While Borghetti may be the dominant voice, it is Umberto Petrin who impresses the most with his wonderfully melodic inventions. The pianist is a class act, and while this is by no means his best recording, it offers small joys and minor treasures. There is an ethnic quality to most of the music, with dancelike curves and lovingly simple flowing lines that recall less troubled times. While hardly complex, Petrin's machinations are never simplistic, and there is a pristine beauty that imbues the total structure with a special mood. The pianist's characteristic flourishes are in full bloom, as he immerses himself in lovely spiraling cascades. While the compositions work on their own terms, they are never too challenging, and those who wish for the kind of stimulating offbeat adventures often offered by so many Italian artists (including Petrin) will need to look elsewhere. For those whose expectations are not too great but who still appreciate a just slightly different take on some traditional (or at least traditional sounding) songs, this one might just be for you.

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