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På skive



Greek pianist-composer Tania Giannouli says that playing solo is the most liberating thing ever. When listening to Solo, her fifth album (all her albums released by the New Zealand-based label Rattle), you can understand what she means. Solo is a series of 24 short and miniature piano improvisations recorded in her hometown, at Athens Concert Hall. It highlights her highly personal poetic sonic imagination, balancing beautifully her lyrical and pastoral playing with her fearless, searching and experimental tendencies, and structured masterfully.

Giannouli is known for her trio with her Greek trumpeter Andreas Polyzogopoulos and oud player Kyriakos Tapakis. But she collaborated with like-minded genre-defying musicians like Norwegian trumpeter and vocalist Arve, Italian vocalist Maria Pia De Vito, percussionist Michele Rabbia and double bass player Daniele Roccato, American trumpeter Amir ElSaffar, Swiss pianist Nik Bärtsch and Korean drummer Sun-Mi Hong.

Giannouli played her first major solo piano performance at Kunsthalle Art Gallery in Mannheim during Enjoy Jazz Festival in 2020 but enjoyed immediately this demanding format and its sense of freedom. «Alone on a stage, one is compelled to be truthful, not to hold back or fake anything, and to allow yourself to be vulnerable. In doing so, if one is honest, one finds strength», she says. And, indeed, Solo, is a very personal, naked and passionate journey – emotional, wise, anchored in traditional folk music, jazz and contemporary music but is not bound by these traditions.

Giannouli experiments with subtle, extended techniques of playing inside the piano and expands the piano timbral range («Demagnitude» and «Folegandros»), tells touching stories («Novelette», «Same Dream», «Twin Star» and the closing piece, «Unfailing Stars») and evokes playful dances («Spiral In Solo»), some bring to mind the hypnotic music of Georges Gurdjieff and Thomas De Hartmann («Intone»). These improvised pieces accumulate naturally and seamlessly into a dramatic and cinematic story, sometimes mysterious, and other times intimate yet unpredictable story. This enchanting, colorful story flows organically and portrays Giannouli’s profound and most personal and original musical vision.

Giannouli plays beautiful music that touches deeply the heart and mind.

Eyal Hareuveni

Tania Giannouli (p)

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