Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Giacomo Lariccia Quartet - 22/12/2006@Sounds, Brussels

Giacomo Lariccia - g
Sabin Todorov - p
Olivier Stalon - el b
Lionel Beuvens - d

Giacomo Lariccia warned us early: "We'll be playing a lot of Keith Jarrett." And indeed they did, much of it from the European Quartet. It dovetailed with my unexpected several-day immersion into Fusion: the hew-to-the-song lyricism of "Country" was a bit too sappily soft-rockish, especially when Lariccia took the lead, but also this kind of post-Fusion acoustic jazz revealed itself as a clear predecessor to the melodic approach discussed in the Rackham review. Not all the Jarrett tunes were in this vein, though. "Spider Song" benefitted from Lionel Beuvens's loose funk beat. He likes to see how many ways he can rearrange a groove's cellular structure by shifting its accents and varying the sounds between toms, bells and wood blocks. For the guitar solo he provided a slightly straighter beat and totally sick, sample-ready breaks.

Lariccia had a light sound whose resonance gave it an appropriate 70s/80s tinge. On standards, especially, he phrased the melodies with great delicacy, perhaps in the great Italian song-loving tradition. He also used real-time guitar loops, both rhythmic and textural, to provide interludes and segues between songs. The transitions out of the band sections and into the processed guitar ones were often a bit abrupt, but the idea was a good one and modernised the group sound.

Until now, I'd only heard Sabin Todorov as leader of his own trio (with Lionel), and his facility with this quite different material surprised and delighted me yet again. The concert was very long and, uncharacteristically for the Sounds, was spread over three sets. It was worth staying 'til the end, though, if only for an unaccompanied passage on which Sabin dove back into his Bulgarian roots and uncorked an amazing, intense multi-metered dance rhythm-based onslaught. He's promised to send me a recently recorded concert, so I hope to be able to share some tracks with you soon.

In the mean time, here's a track from Giacomo's demo, featuring Nicolas Kummert, Stalon and Jonathan Callens: Esa.