Tiziana Ghiglioni

Well, Actually

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Two of Italy's finest join forces in a fascinating, if somewhat esoteric, union of Tiziana Ghiglioni's voice and Giancarlo Schiaffini's trombone, tuba, euphonium, and magnetic tapes. This reissue adds more than 22 minutes to the LP with four "bonus tracks" recorded 17 years after the original release. Ghiglioni is arguably Italy's greatest jazz vocalist, capable of singing in a plethora of styles from traditional bebop to radical deconstruction of standards. The versatile Schiaffini, deservedly Italy's best-known jazz trombonist, has distinguished himself on the other instruments he performs here and at manipulating sounds through electronics. What makes it all so interesting is that the two take mostly standards such as J.J. Johnson's "Lament" and Thelonious Monk's "Epistrophy" and distort and contort them, always remaining faithful to the original melody or concept. They also perform several original compositions, such as the trombonist's "FIAR," a jazzy piece juxtaposing Schiaffini's multiphonics with the vocalist's soft and utterly seductive resonance. On Duke Ellington's "Portrait of Bert Williams," the magnetic tape simulates an orchestra, while Ghiglioni's interpretation of "Epistrophy" brilliantly dissects the piece tastefully. The bonus tracks are remarkably consistent in quality with the earlier versions, though Schiaffini's electronics and even his technical skills on trombone have matured. His solo on Monk's "Jackie-Ing" is splendidly angular, and Ghiglioni's rendition of the melody, with trombone and electronics, and her scatting are intensely compelling. The duo's takes are demanding, softened by the vocalist's gorgeous timbres. The closing "To T. & G. & Me" swirls with abstraction, mixing Italian and English, fluttering electronics, and muted trombone -- a fitting end to an exciting recording.

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