Paolo Fresu, Richard Galliano, Jan Lundgren: Mare Nostrum III

review mare nostrum jazz x1 cong

Swedish pianist Jan Lundgren and French accordionist Richard Galliano have joined together for a third album. Online reviews suggest vol one was better but we wouldn’t know; this is still good.

The combination of instruments is unusual, which makes this hard to categorise. It’s calming and relaxing but we struggle with what we call the Compo Effect: there’s a sound that instantly evokes the Last of The Summer Wine to English ears, and this has it. (Yes we know the defining sound of LOTSW was a harmonica but there was accordion, too). Non-Brit readers: Last of The Summer Wine was a BBC television series about four old reprobates reverting to boyhood pranks and wheezes, set on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales. Very gentle humour, a nostalgia for a life now gone.

Even a beautiful little piano solo on track one, Bleus Sur Seine, can’t hake the image of old rogues in Yorkshire Dales. Usually this imagery is annoying but in this case it’s good: this is music for quiet, wistful moments and it has got a rustic feel of open spaces and quiet.

Each of the albums was recorded in the birthplace of one of the musicians — first Italy, then France, and this Sweden, so maybe no surprise it sounds rustic.

The programme contains four original compositions by each member of the trio, plus some covers, including The Windmills Of Your Mind, which they pull off with aplomb, despite the piece being a veritable cliché. It’s maybe not jazz as we know it but there are some quality moments, very fine playing and it’s a tranquil performance.

As we write, I’te Vurria Vasà is playing and the trumpet solo is gorgeous; you should buy it for that alone. And the piano solo that follows.

It’s out on ACT, 9877-2.

Cover art by Federico Herrero.

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