“Duo”, a huge small album by Karlsson and Markusson

There is something ancestral and mysterious in this album, despite its simple and straightforward appearance. A secret quality that makes it special, intelligible to many, even to those who do not follow jazz. A record that makes you slow down, listen, reflect. And even for those of us who have a visceral love for jazz, it remains a mystery how an album of just piano & bass can be so powerful. In truth, one of my favorite albums of all time is Barron and Haden’s Night and the City, so in my specific case there is a precedent; and indeed Duo, the first album of Daniel Karlsson (piano) and Thomas Markusson (double bass), has a similar feel to it: soft and intimate, often introspective, albeit less nocturnal. It too is likely to become a classic.

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The more conventional but still exciting Nolan of “Interstellar”

It may be that none of the fans of the most cerebral contemporary director around thinks that Interstellar is his best film. Indeed, many of them have been disappointed. Perhaps because the tributes to Tarkovsky and Kubrick are too obvious, to the point of becoming quotes or counter-quotes; or perhaps because, apart from the complexity of the idea of wormholes, or the law of gravity, too many things are “explained” at the end. And sometimes it has the feel of “the happy American family”, especially at the beginning, when some of the dialogue is naive and condescending, sometimes a little cheesy, too Spielbergian (the director for whom the movie was originally written). This is not what Nolan fans are looking for. And the most loyal −or the fussiest−have noticed some inconsistencies in the script, yes, even a few mistakes at the scientific level, that has negated the pleasure of “mechanical perfection” enjoyed elsewhere with this director. For some, even the most important Nolanian concept −the love conquers all message− is considered a shortcut.

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Magnus Öström finally back in Italy

Concert at Panic, Marostica, Italy, October 22nd, 2014

Not even a year has passed since I last saw Magnus Öström, live in Istanbul, but I was determined to go anyway: it had been the best jazz concert of my life, as I had tried to express here. I was wishing for a new similar performance, in the hope that the Venetian public would be able to offer an equally Mediterranean heat to the stage. Certainly, I did not expect an improved performance, I was going to be very content to have it at the same elating level. I was wrong. Incredibly. This concert was truly exceptional, as concurred backstage by all the musicians, so coming all the way from Rome was absolutely worth my while. The band was outstanding, beginning with Daniel Karlsson, who has definitely made a further technical leap in his pianism, filling up his playing with an indeterminable number of notes, struck with precision and passion. Andreas Hourdakis was splendid, and enthusiastic about his sparkling new Collings guitar, and the great energy of the immense Magnus Öström and the precise inspiration of bassist Thobias Gabrielson were both confirmed.

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