The Greek Tania Giannouli Trio – pianist and composer Giannouli, Brussels-based trumpeter Andreas Polyzogopoulos and oud player Kyriakos Tapakis, first performed together at the Jazzfest Berlin in 2018. Already on this very first performance, it was bright clear that Giannouli did it again, and found the right comrades who would shine her compelling melodies. She did it before, each time searching for new tonalities and textures with completely different musicians, first with Portuguese reeds player Paulo Chagas («Forest Stories», 2012), next with her chamber ensemble («Transadence», 2015) and later with New Zealand Māori composer Rob Thorne («Rewa», 2018), all, as the new album «In Fading Light», released by the New Zealand label Rattle. Giannouli continues to do so in a new electroacoustic project, «The Book of Lost Songs», with Italian vocalist Maria Pia De Vito and percussionist Michele Rabbia.
The unconventional new piano trio allows Giannouli to explore textures based on the Mediterranean and oriental modes and find new emotional resonances that the instrumentation of piano, trumpet, and oud offers. But «In Fading Light» is not a departure from her previous work, but a continuation, colored with different nuances. Giannouli continues to compose hypnotic, introspective melodies, instantly engraved in the listener’s memory, and blends in her inclusive vision motives and ideas from her classically-trained background, new music, modern jazz, and folk music.
As on previous albums of Giannouli, the comparison to the ECM aesthetics is inevitable. The atmosphere of «In Fading Light» is somber, and the interplay is reserved, spacious, and patient, and each song is delivered with impressive elegance. But there’s more in Giannouli’s music. There is a strong sense of compassion, love, and hope in this trio balanced and even kind manner of articulating each song. Take the opening «Labyrinth» or «Night Flight», «No Corner» or «Inland Sea» for example, and immediately, you will be drawn by the hypnotic motives played by Giannouli, but soon these arresting motives are split into mysterious paths leading to truly poetic gardens (if I may play with the title of Jorge Luis Borges famous book) colored by the beautiful, expressive playing of Polyzogopoulos and Tapakis’ oud. Giannouli, Polyzogopoulos, and Tapakis sound as if they are embracing each other moves in the dance-like «When Then» and more clearly on the dramatic «Bela’s Dance». Later, the Trio tells gently exquisite, melancholic stories on «Hinemoa’s Lament», «Ingravida» and «Disquiet».
Giannouli writes in the liner notes that despite what’s happening to our world at present, «people need music. They need art. It’s not a luxury. It’s essential for our psychology, for maintaining health and balance – mentality, physically, emotionally, spiritually, and even politically». «In Fading Light» answers majestically such need, encouraging us all to embrace our common good.
Don’t miss this rare gem!
Tania Giannouli (p), Andreas Polyzogopoulos (tp), Kyriakos Tapakis (oud)