Maria Chiara Argirò - The Fall Dance
- 01 – When the sea – 1
- 01 – When the sea – 2
- 02 – Dream R Intro
- 03 – Dream R
- 04 – Every now and then
- 05 – Song for the silver family
- 06 – Freely
- 07 – Stanhope gardens
- 08 – The man who sees the world
- 09 – The fall dance
- 10 – Zen song – 1
- 10 – Zen song – 2
- 10 – Zen song – 3
MARIA CHIARA ARGIRÒ – THE FALL DANCE
Italian-born pianist and composer Maria Chiara Argirò is the author of some truly visionary contemporary jazz music, and her new album, The Fall Dance, takes the listener on a journey through her musical world. Maria frequently encounters nocturnal musical dreams, which form a substantial part of her inspiration. The songs on this disc draw us in to her musical world, allowing us to explore her night-time visions, as well as the dream-like interpretations of her real-life experiences.
Each score has a story behind it, with musical boundaries being stretched through Maria’s collaboration with some outstanding musicians, including the Maria Chiara Argirò Group as heard on this disc – a London-based sextet which brings together fresh young talent from the international music scene with an original repertoire of new compositions, characterised by their unique lyrical and rhythmic identity.
Working and touring with these musicians further inspired the compositions heard on this disc, which came to fruition in between tours. Collaborating with so many different types of artist acted as a driving force that compelled Maria to explore her own vision of music on this album. Blending classical music and folk traditions with her own approach to harmony and melody, the compositions call strongly upon the sounds and aesthetics of contemporary jazz.
Performing with UK-based artists such as Coco Mbassi (BBC Radio 3 World Music Awards Nomination) and Barns Courtney (BBC Music Introducing), Maria has recorded at Abbey Road and BBC Studios Maida Vale, and has also toured alongside These New Puritans at festivals in Asia, the USA, Mexico, Europe, and at the Hollywood Bowl supporting Björk in Los Angeles, as well as at the Barbican in London.
Being involved in these avant-garde and contemporary performances has pushed Maria’s musical curiosity and passion further, colouring her jazz with a twist of all that influences her. Maria delves deeper into the exploration of different genres and electronic sounds on this disc, creating a soundworld all her own.
Booklet in English, German and Italian.
“The unexpected, emotional swirl of pianist and composer Maria Chiara Argirò’s debut release The Fall Dance has me in raptures as its engaging, visceral expressions of explosive excitement and sweet serenity unfold… Brimming with imagination… The Fall Dance is certainly an album with staying power.”
London Jazz News - Adrian Gallant / 21 January 2017
“The unexpected, emotional swirl of pianist and composer Maria Chiara Argirò's debut release The Fall Dance has me in raptures as its engaging, visceral expressions of explosive excitement and sweet serenity unfold.
Born in Rome and now residing in London, Argirò's original sextet music is sensitively crafted, yet frequently erupts with intense fervour – and she has a fascinating weave of timbres to work with, her often percussive piano style combining with Sam Rapley (tenor sax, clarinet, bass clarinet), Tal Janes (guitar), Andrea Di Biase (double bass) and Gaspar Sena (drums), along with the extraordinary, unfettered vocalisations of Leïla Martial. This is contemporary jazz with a purpose and an edge which, though abundant in intelligent improvisation, almost defies categorisation (its elemental, surging rock would be entirely at home on radio's alternative music strands).
Maria describes her varietal creativity which, in terms of writing, often arrives in the night: "I have to make sure I have a recording device at my side, otherwise I'd never get any sleep. Sometimes I wake up in the morning, and… I have complete clarity in mind as to how I want the score to sound. It has become a daily habit to break down into little pieces the scores in my subconscious and to arrange them on paper, like a jigsaw puzzle of my melodic dreams." These 'little pieces', however, are the basis of an entirely joined-up, detailed delivery full of unpredictable compositional turns and sublime instrumental interfusion.
A wispy, misterioso intro to Dream R suggests a glimpse of Argirò's nocturnal light-bulb moments before crashing into a near-eight-minute hallucinatory episode where Leïla Martial's elongated vocal lines hover in and out of pitch frequency with Sam Rapley's clarinet; and whilst there's a waltzing folkiness, Gaspar Sena's thrashing energy also encourages screeching tenor improv and bawling vocals (Martial's palette is incredibly broad). When the Sea balances piano jazz repose with impressive, restless spontaneity, such as Martial's instinctive response to Rapley's clarinet siren calls; Tal Janes' guitar informs mischievously shuffling, bass-swung Every Now and Then (Martial's syncopated, panting, cartoon voice strangely compelling); and miniature Song for the Silver Family's soothing, awakening simplicity segues into the atmospheric, sustained grandeur of Freely, with Rapley's rich tenor gliding over affecting chordal changes.
These lucid recollections of Argirò's thoughts are as dramatic as they are quietly emotional – so Stanhope Gardens' irascible alarm contrasts markedly with Chopinesque piano nocturne The Man Who Sees the World, whose descending romantic beauty is enhanced by lyrical bass clarinet melodies and Andrea Di Biase's resonant, cantabile double bass. Title track The Fall Dance's boiling, nightmarish vigour becomes accentuated by a tremulant, almost hysterical lament from Martial; and closing Zen Song breaks daylight with a melodic, sunrise vamp.
Brimming with imagination, and led by Argirò's artistic drive, the ardency of this sextet cannot be overstated – and The Fall Dance is certainly an album with staying power.”
“Argiro has the ability to take you on a musical journey, with every piece feeling like a mini musical novel… Thoughtful and thought-provoking.”
Jazz Weekly - George Harris / 2 March 2017
“Italian born pianist and composer Maria Chiara Argiro’ brings a fresh ensemble together featuring the voice of Leila Martial along with the thoughtful and impressionistic team of Sam Rapley/ts-cl-bcl, Tal Janes/g, Andrea Di Biase/b and Gaspar Sena/dr. Most of the pieces feature Martial’s soft and wordless vocals teamed pulsed forward by Sena’s brushes and dreamily thoughtful piano as on “When the Sea” and the melancholy “The Man Who Sees the World.” Rapley’s tenor and Martial’s sub-toned voice with libretto do wonders on “Freely” while the team thunders hard on the dark “Dream R.” Argiro has the ability to take you on a musical journey, with every piece feeling like a mini musical novel, with Janes’ guitar lilting with the composer as the team canters together on the closing “Zen Song.” Thoughtful and thought provoking.”
“‘It’s the end of a long, emotional journey,’ pianist and bandleader Maria Chiara Argirò tells the Vortex crowd at the launch of her debut album. But at this journey’s end there’s real reason to celebrate; The Fall Dance is an astonishing achievement. Her beautiful collection of original compositions ranges from the touchingly simple to the boldly cinematic…”
JazzWise - Tommie Black-Roff / 16 December 2016
"It's the end of a long, emotional journey," pianist and bandleader Maria Chiara Argirò tells the Vortex crowd at the launch of her debut album. But at this journey's end there's real reason to celebrate; The Fall Dance is an astonishing achievement. Her beautiful collection of original compositions ranges from the touchingly simple to the boldly cinematic and has been realised with help of a perfectly formed crew of five other talented young musicians – guitarist Tal Janes, drummer Gaspar Sena (both Middlesex graduates, like the bandleader), plus Sam Rapley on saxes and Andrea Di Biase on double bass. These London jazzers, with a notable Italian connection, make up the more familiar Maria Chiara Argiro Quintet. For this album and its release party, however, we are also treated to the singular voice of Paris-based Leïla Martial.
Diving into the thick of it, Argiro opens the evening with 'Dream R', an intoxicating scream at the world and the frustrating reality of politics in her home city of Rome. Its wonky lyrical rhythms and tolling bells provide fertile ground for some fine opening solos from Raply and Janes. Sadly, technical hitches in the opening minutes throw the team off balance. But their flow returns with a soulful free rhythm medley – a meditation on the question 'what is family?', which earned some almighty applause.
Later highlights included some feverishly cool soloing from Martial on 'Every Now & Then', a new piece overlaid with (occasionally hard to hear) Hungarian poetry and a climactic performance of the album's title-track that displayed just how successfully the group have managed to balance composition, orchestration and individual voice. Indeed, Di Biase explained these arrangements were reworked over the course of several years.
The group has impressive sonic range, from noisy warmongering to asymmetric rhythms to seductive folksy melody. Furthermore it feels natural and unshowy, especially in this live setting. The appeal is immediate and perhaps explains why some have been quick to state how their music has true crossover appeal. In terms of virtuosity there were very few moments of extravagance, but their strength is that such flamboyance often seems unnecessary.
The journey complete and, after a brief moment of concern, Maria Chiara relocates her glasses atop the Steinway. The packed upstairs room of the Vortex swims back into view, reality reasserted. Her smile and the crowd's standing ovation acknowledge the dreamy distance we've covered tonight.