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På skive


«Pipe Dream»

Canadian trumpeter-composer Lina Allemano splits her time between Berlin and Toronto where she leads her Four band – with alto sax player Brodie West, double bass player Andrew Downing  and drummer Nick Fraser – for 18 years now. The seventh album of the Lina Allemano Four, Pipe Dream, was recorded at Union Sound Company in Toronto in February 2021, and, obviously, it solidifies the quartet’s chamber-acoustic intimacy and marks a new chapter in the quartet’s organic, creative evolution.

Allemano composed for Pipe Dream conceptual music. The album begins with three long-form orchestral pieces, including the title piece that borrows a theme from Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev, that employs the imaginative languages of her, West, Downing and Fraser. It is followed by the suite «Plague Diaries», written in Toronto in the first months of the Covid-19 pandemic, and reflecting Allemano’s personal experience in the form of a musical diary. The digital version of the album features two bonus alternate takes.

You immediately sense the maturity and depth of Allemano’s compositions, written specifically for this quartet with a mandate of strong band interaction, improvisation and sonic exploration. Allemano tells complex stories while weaving wisely the strong individual voices of her quartet into nuanced and layered yet powerful dramas and leaving enough space for spontaneous, colorful improvisations. It is clear that the Lina Allemano Four has established its own democratic, conversational and always elegant aesthetics and it develops Allemano’s distinctive and unconventional compositions skillfully and effortlessly as a tight collective that sounds bigger than its parts.

The «Plague Diaries» suite has a mournful, lyrical tone and its four parts have melancholic titles – «Longing», «Trying Not To Freak Out», «Hunger and Murder» and «Doom and Doomer». Its atmosphere is stressed by the introspective solos from each of the ensemble members that introduce each part, and mirror the acute isolation in which the compositions were written. But this impressive, emotional suite also succeeds to balance the stressful, dramatic memories from the pandemic times with reserved yet life-affirming passion, as well as between well-crafted, beautiful structures and urgent, ecstatic freedom.

Eyal Hareuveni

Lina Allemano (tp), Brodie West (as), Andrew Downing (b), Nick Fraser (dr) 

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