Mare Nostrum
The latest from Paolo Fresu, Richard Galliano and Jan Lundgren in a series of gently dreamy Mediterranean themed albums which began with the first in the series in 2007 followed nine years later by the second. A river, the Seine, no less on ‘Blues sur Seine’ begins the flow Lundgren pensive in a Ludovico Einaudi space and then the plaintive trumpet of Fresu who has such a pure tone it speaks to you instantly. Galliano’s solo has a sadness to it that is not contrived at all and again like his colleagues has that intimate ability to connect with the listener. This is a facility incidentally that is beyond technique, it is about the interpretation of notes and many musicians forget this when they are simply intent on navigating material and neglect the power of emotion. Simplicity is key on Mare Nostrum III: the lengths are relatively brief ‘Le Jardin des Fées’ at well under five and a half minutes is the longest of the 15 selections. And in terms of improvisation the accent here is firmly on embellishment rather than a full scale deconstruction of melody. The pace is often more a walk than a run. Among them is a piece by Galliano dedicated to French master violinist Didier Lockwood who passed away just a few months before this Gothenburg studio affair was recorded. René Hess deserves a lot of credit for shaping the direction of the album artistically as producer. Long term fans of the trumpet-accordion-piano trio may not be surprised to discover that there is a lot of romance in these new selections nor that there is a pervasive warmth once again. And this is so melodic. Fresu’s composition ‘Pavese’ for instance has a gorgeous theme delivered with great sensitivity... the album is a feast of song. Coloured by the great accordionist Richard Galliano whose unravelling of melody and capturing of mood is unrivalled you will find material by Michel Legrand (the classic ‘The Windmills of Your Mind’), Quincy Jones (‘Love Theme from The Getaway’), as well as originals by all three of these iconic European bandleaders whose rapport is evident in their sincerity and skill all of which elevates their coming together into something very much of an occasion indeed. Look for the charming Mare Nostrum III in late-January. SG
Richard Galliano above left with Paolo Fresu and Jan Lundgren. 

Photo: Steven Haberland/ACT