Beginning with a Caribbean lilt to ‘Easy Healing’, Bill Frisell’s guitar finding tentative space as Mark Turner’s tenor saxophone glints within the summery theme, Bollani pulsing exuberantly as his comping darts in and out. With Bollani’s long-time colleagues double bassist Jesper Bodilsen and drummer Morten Lund completing the band, it’s an album of new compositions from the brilliant Italian recorded in June last year at Avatar in New York not long before the release of Bollani’s live duo album O Que Será. ‘No Pope No Party’ has a Cool School vibe to it, busy stop/start flurries smothered in bright voicings, the melody fracturing into more open improvising space, and there’s plenty of intricate chordal improvisational resourcefulness to be found throughout this album. Bollani begins the North African-hinting ‘Alobar e Kudra’ with a shimmering atmosphere finding a good deal of metrical room to encourage bass and drums to assert themselves before the album gets serious on ‘Las hortensias’, brooding bass leading to a sombre saxophone response. ‘Vale’ is more like a miniature piano masterclass but guitar chords are then layered on Bollani’s own choices, a simple saxophone melody then elaborated upon greatly to move the tune into a more complete statement.

Bollani had never met Bill Frisell before this recording session, so there’s a sense of freshness in the band’s interplay on the accessible material, Bollani, Michel Petrucciani-like in his more decorative moments, a virtuoso life force in front of his piano’s keyboard. ‘Teddy’, written by Bollani with Billie Holiday’s piano soulmate Teddy Wilson in mind, has a lot of chewy chordal texture to it the band responding to Frisell’s digging around, Bollani bouncing off change after change in the midst of this whimsical adventure. There’s a velvety soft opening from Bollani on ‘Ismene’ that stops you dead in your tracks, and then Frisell’s entry is perfect, just one of the sheer moments of pleasure, his presence an increasing element of the album in the band interplay as the album progresses with its later primitive edge emerging on ‘Tales From the Time Loop’. The title track kept to the last has a swirling atmosphere to it where everybody seems to just want to let go. A fine album that wins you over right from the start. SG

Released on 25 August

The Bollani quintet, top, left-to-right: Morten Lund, Bill Frisell, Stefano Bollani, Jesper Bodilsen, and Mark Turner. Photo: Paolo Soriani / ECM