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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, John Eyles, Robert Gibson, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby


Lucilla Galeazzi, Vicent Courtois, Michel Godard.

Trio Rouge.

Intuition, INT 3353 2


1. Bella Ciao
2. Voglio Una Casa
3. Per Vita Bella
4. Ah, Vita Bella
5. La Luze De Oro
6. C’ere Una Volta
7. Una Serenata
8. Stornelli A Saltraello
9. Per La Ninna Nanna
10. La Muntagnella
11. La Tarantelle Translucida
12. Per Gorizia
13. Gorizia
14. Rosso

Lucilla Galeazzi: vocals
Vincent Courtois: violoncello
Michel Godard: tuba, serpent

In his linear notes to Trio Rouge, Ralf Dombrowski, the producer of the album, recounts his memories of the Talos Jazz Festival - the venue in which this unusual group first came to his attention. Due to bad weather, he tells us, the concert was shifted from the great outdoors to the ugly, functional civic centre. Naturally, the mood of the day was dampened - and the cello/tuba/vocals combination that had just stepped on to the stage offered little promise of cheering things up. But, as Dombrowski himself describes it, the discontent was not to last long: ‘when Lucilla Galeazzi [left] began to sing the sober surroundings were forgotten... The crowd went wild and I was impressed.’

Galeazzi, indeed, has one of those voices that instantly grabs the listener - rich, intense and filled with emotion, but never straying from a breathtaking precision that shines of musicality. And like all great musicians, she employs her talents with the utmost versatility. Passion and defiance seep through every note of songs like ‘Voglio Una Casa’, whilst sensitivity and tenderness characterise ‘Per Vita Bella’. The most impressive tune of the collection is the short but absorbing ‘Stornelli A Saltrarello’. Accompanied only by steady clapping, Galeazzi’s expressive vocals glide with ease through the rhythmical mesh of this beautiful traditional melody. The rapid blast of notes at the end has to be heard to be believed...

And so does Michel Godard on tuba. As uninspiring as the instrument may be in the hands of the average performer, Godard’s virtuousity is an utter delight to listen to. Attaining an almost voice-like quality, bending and stretching the notes like elastic, his solos breath tremendous life in to the sparse compositions of the trio. Experimental as he often is, though, Godard never allows his talents to compromise the tone and feel of the songs. His solos often work round the melody already laid down by the vocals, whilst in songs like ‘Una Serenata’ he shows his willingness to stick very rigidly to the simple, thumping bass line required to carry the tune forward.

It is Courtois, of course, who by-in-large provides the ‘rhythm section’. Whether strumming at pizzicato chords or sawing away at a riff, his rhythmic assurance and precise approach do away with the need for percussion. In saying this, his more melodic work is also extremely impressive, bringing a depth and richness to the pieces, as well as a haunting quality.

There can little doubt, then, that Trio Rouge is a brilliant musical accomplishment - original, warm and highly absorbing. The only thing that concerns me in making my recommendation is that ‘jazz’ is a rather misleading term to describe this form of music. Whilst a jazz-like freedom seeps through the work - as does a jazz-like understanding of harmony - don’t be expecting any walking bass lines, swinging melodies or toe-tapping beats. These are sparse, intense compositions rooted in a spirit of traditional folk songs... Still, to the open-minded jazz fan, the new experience will no doubt satisfy.

Robert Gibson

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