Jean-Louis Matinier and Marco Ambrosini ‘Inventio’ (ECM) 4/5

Jean-Louis-Matinier-Marco-AmbrosiniFranco-Italian musical collaborations, like cinematic ones, are grounded on an endearing love of and respect for each others separate yet nonetheless deeply sympathetic cultures. So it proves on this excellent duet recording between French accordionist Jean-Louis Matinier, who, at the end of the 1980s, became a member of the influential Orchestre National de Jazz as well as more recently accompanying Juliette Greco. Classically trained Italian musician Marco Ambrosini studied violin and viola before taking up the nyckelharpa in 1983 and has performed, among others, with bassist Renaud Garcia-Fons. The two musicians on the current album have been collaborating together since 2008. Ten out of the concise fifteen pieces are composed, or co-composed by the duo and of these Ambrosini’s delightful ‘Basse dance’, the longest piece on the album at just over six minutes, conjurs up the early music sound of composer Marin Marais. Marais was in fact a musician wonderfully evoked and paid homage to in the French film ‘Tous les matins de monde’ in the early 1990s, which broke French record sales at the time for a CD soundtrack in the early music category and expertly performed by Jordi Savall. Ideally, this writer would like to hear more of this interactive side to the duo and an entire project devoted to early music would make a compelling future project. Two pieces by J.S. Bach are performed with ‘Inventio 4’ transposing the intimacy of Bach into an accordion context and a most fascinating listen it is too. One wonders what bandoneon maestro Astor Piazzolla would have made of this. An emotionally charged solo from Ambrosini on ‘Presto from Sonata G-minor’ conveys beautifully the improvisational quality of Bach’s chamber work that is sometimes overlooked and, in general, Bach’s influence on jazz musicians should never be underestimated for it is indeed substantial. Throughout there is a deftness and lightness of touch that is utterly commendable and with plenty of scope for future albums.

Tim Stenhouse