Italian jazz pianist Stefano Bollani is the recipient of Musica magazine’s "Best Jazz Talent of the Year" award for 1998. Hence, the artist’s spiraling visibility within jazz circles results in his initial date for prestigious ECM Records. Conservatory trained amid longtime stints with Italy’s fabled trumpeter Enrico Rava -- Bollani opts for the solo piano route during this multifarious studio date.
Throughout these sixteen tracks, including four improvisational works, the artist generates a sanctified outlook of sorts. On the lovely opener titled "Antonia," he renders a childlike lullaby via an understated melody line. Yet in other areas, he renders shuffle grooves and up-tempo chord clusters, topped off with unanticipated shifts in strategy while frequently building tension. With the piece "On a theme by Sergey Prokofiev," Bollani paints a visceral dreamscape via soft voicings and animated reconstructions of the primary melody. Nonetheless, his artistry encompasses a comprehensive musical persona, where he engages in bump and grind motifs amid rhythmic block chords, and accentuating trills.
Bollani surfaces as a restless spirit whether he’s executing romantic passages or off-kilter swing vamps. And he delves into a bit of good old ragtime on the classic "Maple Leaf Rag." In addition, Bollani touches upon mainstream avenues to coincide with his personalized methodology that generally includes variances in meter and pitch. Overall, his star seems to have finally risen with this often-glistening and irrefutably, cunning solo recital. (Strongly recommended.... )