This is a post pandemic album whose title is significant:
Ancient theologians created the metaphor ‘Mysterium Lunae’ (the mystery of the moon) to express how a cold, arid and barren object can mysteriously become a source of poignant beauty, as it reflects a bigger light, coming from somewhere else.
This is an album which gives us cause to reflect, to surrender to our feelings, and the title track gives us that in abundance. ‘Mysterium Lunae’ opens with a repeated, rippling piano phrase and bass playing single notes over the top. The trumpet of Alberto Mandarini then adds a simple sounding line into the mix before a glorious wall of sound kicks in and changes the dynamics of the piece to great effect. The volume then drops back before building again adding to the overall tonal palette. This is all done so smoothly that the listener is carried along with the ebb and flow of the tune as the sound washes over them until the notes simply fade out and are picked up by the next track.
‘Mystery Clock’ has that simple sounding piano line at the start but this time the bass of Stefano Dall’Ora is played with more purpose, a more resonant sound. Alberto Mandarini’s horn playing has a rich tone to it and is nicely counterbalanced against the brightness of Lorenzo De Finto on piano. Under all of this is the subtle playing of drummer Marcos Castiglioni. Like the opening track there is light and shade to the tune that draws the listener in but in a more delicate way: this is very good European style jazz.
‘Whispers from the End of the World’ is one of those tracks that really needs to heard rather than read about. This is a sound to luxuriate in, to surrender to allowing your thoughts to meander wherever they take you unencumbered by reality. The writing and playing on this track is simply stunning and highlights just how emotionally connected the listener can become to a piece of music.
‘Candle in the Storm (Shining on Us)’ has a tough act to follow but does so well. The opening bars are similar in structure to previous tracks before the trumpet sound becomes more punchy, more energetic. The piano line reflects this as the tune grows before fading back to a more rounded sound from Lorenzo De Finti. There is a beautiful bowed bass section leading into an increasingly louder ensemble sound before it all fades out again to the bass of Stefano Dall’Ora and then to silence.
Track five, ’Minuial Enni Arphent’, begins with bowed bass and piano before a floating trumpet voice is layered in over the top. The sound builds and then everyone drops out except the trumpet, which I found exhilarating. Lorenzo De Finti then takes over the melody before it all builds and fades again. While the stylistic structure of the piece may now be familiar it is by no means overly so and, therefore, the overall effect of the writing is not diminished and each tune stands on its own merits.
Mysterium Lunae is a fine example of well composed European style jazz. There is a quiet, understated energy to the album that belies the intensity of the emotional connection to the sound created. The balance of the playing, the smoothness of the transitions, the controlled rise and fall of sound all contribute to an album of reflective beauty that only gets better on subsequent listenings. I have only recently been made aware of the Losen Records label who have put this album out for release but based on what I have heard here, and the recently reviewed In-Tension from According to the Sound, this is a label worth following.
Mysterium Lunae is released 6 May, 2022.
Musicians: Lorenzo De Finti – piano; Stefano Dall’Ora – double bass; Alberto Mandarini – trumpet & flugelhorn; Marco Castiglioni – drums.
Tracklist: 1. Mysterium Lunae. 2. Mystery Clock. 3. Whispers from the End of the World. 4. Tiny Candle in the Storm (Shining on Us). 5. Minuial Enni Arphent. 6. Mysterium Lunae -videa edition.
All compositions by Lorenzo De Finti and Stefano Dall’Ora