Maurizio Minardi ‘The cook, the clown, the monk and the accordionist’ (MM II/Belfagor) 3/5

Italian composer and accordionist Maurizio Minardi studied music in Bologna, but has been resident in London since 2008 and this album combines elements of chamber jazz and classical cello, and its nearest equivalent might be the film soundtrack music of Michael Nyman whom Minardi certainly seems to have been heavily influenced by. As one might expect, this is a highly creative form of music and one that cuts across a variety of musical styles in the process. The mid-paced number’ The Penguin’ is both a memorable and haunting piece with some lovely playing on cello. A three part trilogy, based around the theme of a monk, works quite well with the second part, ‘The monk is back’ being an uplifting and evocative piece that conjurs up all the joy of the fairground and this features some intricate accordion work from the leader. Perhaps music of this nature requires some kind of visual stimulus and is thus best understood when accompanied by images. If the album title sounds vaguely familiar, then it is in fact a parody on the Peter Greenaway film of the 1980s ‘The cook, the thief, his wife and her lover’ and Minardi should be viewed as a composer in the eclectic tradition of Nino Rota, Ryuichi Sakamato and indeed Michael Nyman. Maurizio Minardi will be performing at selected London dates and these include the Vortex on 7 June. Tim Stenhouse