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The results on these discs are engrossing. I especially recommend Memoirs, his trio with Haden and Motian, for their simpatico collective interplay, and the solo Tango Palace, where Bley’s polished abstraction makes every note sound newly minted.

Italian pianist Giorgio Gaslini is as much a composer as an improviser, with ballets, operas and film scores to his name. His Dischi Della Quercia (DDQ) albums (never before released in the UK) include several ambitious suites, some on geographical themes that incorporate musical references to New Orleans, India and China. Gaslini started the DDQ label himself, but later entrusted it to Bonandrini (hence its appearance in CAM Jazz’s reissue series) and then went on to record for Soul Note. Regrettably, his later albums, which contain his highly individual takes on music by Albert Ayler, Sun Ra and Robert Schumann, are not part of this set; neither, inexplicably, is his tribute to Jelly Roll Morton, arguably his best work on DDQ.

What we do have is a very mixed bag: quartet, quintet, sextet and octet recordings from 1976 to 1985, on which Gaslini and reedsman Gianluigi Trovesi (present on three discs) stand out as the most inventive players. There are also three duo albums with visiting American musicians – trombonist Roswell Rudd, bassist Eddie Gomez and saxophonist Anthony Braxton. These are the set’s real gems, where Gaslini finally has the space to engage in wonderfully inventive improvisations with musicians as original as himself.

GRAHAM LOCK Read the full review on Agora Classica


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