Emiliano D´Auria Quartet featuring Luca Aquino: ‘In-Equilibrio’

In the information I received from Losen Records, who released In-Equilibrio, was the following:

Just like radio, you listen and you make the pictures in your mind. This album summonses pictures, it arouses thoughts and emotions with its artistic arpeggios, its immaculate musicianship and its impeccably produced instrumental blend. It has atmosphere and it has adventure. It is a film… in sound.

And so to equilibrium itself. It is discussed in physics, in chemistry and of course, in mathematics. But the greater majority of us think of equilibrium in terms of intellectual and emotional balance. Tension and release are surely universal qualities. Here you will hear the quiet storms that abate to calm balms. You are energized and then you sigh deeply, you are soothed.

David Fishel from the CD cover

This is going to be interesting because I can’t create images in my mind (it’s known as aphantasia), I have to rely on emotional responses to what I hear, which is why I write about how music feels and sounds.

Cover photo by Kjersti Holst
Cover design by Max Franosch

‘Le Cirque de Regardes’ has a circus feel to it with its catchy piano led opening and sad sounding trumpet lines. Everything is built around Emiliano D´Auria’s delightful piano playing supported by the rhythms from drummer Ermanno Baron and bass player Dario Miranda. The pathos of the piece comes from the trumpet of Luca Aquino who manages to evoke the sounds I remember being associated with a rather crestfallen clown. The opening track has certainly captured my imagination and I am keen to hear more. ‘Lazy Days’ moves at a more sedate pace than track one and has an almost lethargic quality about it. The bass lines are striking and stand out against the languid notes of the trumpet. This has the feeling of long hot days under oppressive heat about it, those lazy days when little gets done.

The title track lifts the mood with clean, bright piano sounds that open out to something more expansive as more instrumentation is added. This number builds into something quite stirring and the tones produced by Luca Aquino are sumptuous. Guitarist Giacomo Ancillotto adds a harder edge to the feel of the piece before the piano pulls thing back again supported by the horn of Aquino. Equilibrium does not happen by chance, it is worked for and is a constant ebb and flow, push and pull, and this number portrays that rather well. Before the end of the first bar, I could relate track three to ‘The Acrobat’. The music soars with a feel of open air, height about it. The use of the synthesizer suggests an element of danger in the movements performed but the piano, bass, drums, and horn re-establish the rhythmic flight of the acrobat before closing out the tune.

‘Sergej’ has a cinematic film score feel about it with a sinister sounding bass line. There is something hauntingly beautiful about this tune, but that disquieting edge is never far away. ‘Mindfulness’ on the other hand is sure footed and powerful, not soft as one might expect from the tune’s title. The use of the synthesizer changes the texture adding another sound dimension before the horn brings the tune back to firmer jazz territory. This multi-layered composition gives the listener much to reflect on … as mindfulness should. ‘Losing Opinion’ is a punchy mid-tempo number with a strong bass line, drum driven rhythms and great keyboard playing. This is a good contemporary jazz number that comes to a sharp finish.

‘The Call To Water’ opens with a sixties feel to the guitar playing and a more experimental feel to the performance. There is no melodic through line here, but the construction does hang together largely due to the drumming of Ermanno Baron, which is relatively consistent throughout. For me, this is the odd one out track on In-Equilbrio, though repeated listen may change my mind on that thought. The album finishes on the wonderfully titled ‘Nobody Lies Everybody Teases’, which opens with a simple sounding motif and great ensemble playing. Luca Aquino’s tone is full and resounding and becomes more so as the tune progresses until everything comes to a brief stop before the piano plays a delicate phrase and it all kicks off again. It is very easy to imagine this number being used to close a live set and the audience calling for more.

David Fishel also wrote that “the compositions resonate with creative composure. This is no soloist’s springboard. This is collaboration born from catchy, thematic mini symphonies with delicate textures and voicings, both contrapuntally and harmonically fugitive. In-Equilibrio is a unique, enchanting and endearing addition to the Losen label.” There is little there to argue with there and I can fully understand why Odd Gjelsnes of Losen Records, who sent me the music, considers “this record to be of the best released on Losen Records and a record that is often played here in the house. You don’t easily get tired of this music.” At the end of the day, you have to make your own mind up on what you think of this release, but I do recommend that you do at least give it a listen.

Musicians: Emiliano D´Auria – pianoforte, Rhodes, synthesizer; Giacomo Ancillotto – electric guitar; Luca Aquino – trumpet, flugelhorn, trombone; Dario Miranda – double bass; Ermanno Baron – drums.

Tracklist: 1. Le Cirque de Regardes. 2. Lazy Days. 3. In-Equilibrio. 4. The Acrobat. 5. Sergej. 6. Mindfulness. 7. Losing Opinion. 8. The Call Of Water. 9. Nobody Lies Everybody Teases.

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