The trio Il Sogno is comprised of alumni of the Rhythmic Music Conservatory in Copenhagen – Polish, Copenhagen-based double bass player player and label owner Tomo Jacobson, known for his groups Mount Meander and Moonbow; Italian pianist Emanuele Maniscalco (who is also a drummer and photographer who did the cover art); known from the ECM’s Swiss-Italian trio Third Reel and his collaboration with guitarist Mark Solborg and young Danish drummer Oliver Laumann, who studied with legendary free jazz drummer Milford Graves.
The debut album of Il Sogno was recorded at Maniscalco’s hometown, Brescia, Italy on September, 2015. The ten short pieces use brief lyrical and melodic themes as a starting point for focused collective improvisations. These pieces highlight the breadth and resourcefulness of this genre-binding trio. The first side of «Birthday» – in its vinyl version – begins with Jacobson’s «Paintfall», a piece that sound romantic and enigmatic at the same time; then Il Sogno expands the delicate, romantic vein with «Cheyenne», a cover of Ennio Morricone’s theme from the Sergio Leone’s Western «Once Upon a Time in the West» (1968) by the same name; later experiments with the sonic searches ambience of the «Il Sogno» and «Sonar» that researches the piano timbral qualities as a percussion instrument and concludes this side with another minimalist, enigmatic piece, «Pavane». Il Sogno moves freely and organically on all these distinct pieces.
The second side begins with the title piece, a humble, playful-polyrhythmic homage to the American free jazz; then moves to the abstract, open «Santachiara» improvisation; experiments again with loose time signatures on the brief «Timeline»; attempts an abstract, atonal interplay on «Collider» and finishes with Maniscalco’s dramatic and passionate, «Two-part chorale». Il Sogno sounds completely at home on these varied pieces, all stress the mature sound of this trio and its balanced, emphatic interplay.
«Birthday» lasts only 35 minutes but its episodic compositions and collective improvisations sketch a nuanced, detailed story, or even a web of stories, that can be read as a comment on the state of jazz nowadays. Jazz as an open, inclusive and curious genre. And an effective, even if somehow abstract channel of articulating emotions.
Emanuele Maniscalco (p), Tomo Jacobson (b), Oliver Laumann (dr)