Kino Trio ‘Il Cielo Sopra Berlino’ CD (Babel Label) 4/5

The Kino Trio is a collective comprising Bruno Heinen (piano) Michele Tacchi (bass) and Riccardo Chiaberta (drums). They have been working together since 2015 and their repertoire comprises compositions by all three bandmates.

Heinen has been making waves on the London jazz scene and beyond for some years now. His website describes him as a contemporary improvising pianist. That description is all-encompassing as it allows for the inclusion of more impressionistic classical music too. Of course, jazz and classical music has not always made for a marriage made in heaven. The pianist’s past tutors have included the late John Taylor and Peter Saberton who were both questing and adventurous pianists in their own right. The influence of these two past masters is clearly detectable in Heinen’s own playing, but he has distilled the best that they had to offer and created a recognisably personal style of his own.

Italian bass player Tacchi has an impressive pedigree having played blues, jazz, fusion, Latin, rock, pop, funk and gospel music and worked with a wide range of musicians in his homeland. He is also busy composing and producing music for film, video games and commercials. He is currently resident in London. Tacchi’s fellow Italian, Chiaberta started out studying piano at the age of 9, only later moving to study drums. Like Tacchi, he has worked and recorded extensively in Italy.

The title of this album translates as ‘Wings of Desire’ and is also the title of a 1987 film directed by Wim Wenders. In turn, the film was inspired by the poems of Rainer Maria Rilke and Wenders is quoted as saying that angels live in Rilke’s poems.

The music on this album is similarly evocative. ‘Diano’ written by the drummer opens with a delicate percussion masterclass before piano and bass guitar enter with the bass guitar taking up the melody. Indeed, the highlight of this piece is the wonderful bass solo. The title track follows with the melody line traced out by piano and bass in unison, before more delicate drum embellishments which ultimately lead to an impassioned conclusion. ‘Canzone Per Leo’ is a more considered melodic feature for the bassist initially before piano and drums add their own particular magic and a sprinkling of good humour. ‘Ram’ opens with delicate solo piano before the energy level is dramatically increased with the entry of bass and drums once more. The piano is at the forefront on the meditative ‘In Paris’ and which includes the sound of what I take to be a Paris street scene. This is the outstanding track of this eight-track collection. The cleverly titled ‘Heineniana’ is next, a composition by the bassist, and as one might guess is another feature for the pianist and again in a more considered vain. ‘Lionel’ is an altogether busier piece with the pianist switching to electronic keyboard to great effect. There is also a fine feature for the bassist on this piece too. Heinen reverts to acoustic piano for the closing piece ‘Le Prince Defectueux’ which sees the pianist in a romantic mode.

This music was inspired by the Wim Wenders film and each piece seems to evoke a particular filmic soundscape of its own. It is beautifully recorded and played. Bruno Heinen will be well-known to UK audiences but less so his musical partners here. This is music of great delicacy and sensitivity and thoughtfully produced. For me, this album is an unexpected delight.

Catch the trio live on these dates:
14 May – 8.30pm LONDON – Oliver’s Jazz Bar, 9 Nevada St, East Greenwich, SE10 9JL
26 June – 8.00pm LONDON – Bull’s Head, 373 Lonsdale Road, Barnes, SW13 9PY
20 July – 7.00pm LUTON – The Bear Club, Mill Yard, 24A Guildford St, LU1

Alan Musson