Metalknife: Music for Modern Piano – Review by Classical Notes

“An impressive display of virtuosic talent”

5th August 2022

Metalknife: Music for Modern Piano – Review by Classical Notes

Listen or buy this album:

Metalknife: Music for Modern Piano – Review by Classical Notes

“An impressive display of virtuosic talent”

5th August 2022

Listen or buy this album:

Somewhat slightly different territory for me now – another pianist recording with Convivium, but this time the Italian jazz pianist Matteo Bisbano Memmo. Clearly a highly virtuosic pianist, he demonstrates this with some astonishing playing in the first half of the disc, a selection of standards, with a number of arrangements from the extraordinary Art Tatum. Here, Bisbano shows no fear, with rippling fluidity and startling virtuosity in Charlie Mingus’ ‘Duke Ellington’s Sound of Love’, and the wild, fiendishly racing ‘Tiger Rag’. There is some lightness of touch in ‘Alfonsina Y El Mar’, and softness in the rich chords of ‘Yesterdays’, but mostly the requirements of the extreme virtuosity does lead to a somewhat harshly percussive sound in places. However, in the second half of the disc, Bisbano moves to a selection of his own compositions, and the mood is completely different. The virtuosity is still evident, in the driving energy of the extended composition, ‘Metalknife’, for example, but there is also more dynamic variety in the lively, urban ‘Smokey Stogie’, and enigmatic, more lyrical writing in ‘Rose’. He uses the open piano strings effectively at the mysterious start of ‘Metalknife’, and the atmospheric, slow-moving harmonies in ‘Stardust Light’ are highly effective. And what to finish with? Well, a cover of Metallica’s ‘Master of Puppets’, of course. He captures the relentless drive and percussive hammering here, once again with highly virtuosic playing, but there are also moments of sudden delicacy in the brief lyrical interludes. Overall, this is an impressive display of virtuosic talent, but for me, it is in his more expressively varied own compositions that Bisbano’s pianistic voice shines.

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Somewhat slightly different territory for me now – another pianist recording with Convivium, but this time the Italian jazz pianist Matteo Bisbano Memmo. Clearly a highly virtuosic pianist, he demonstrates this with some astonishing playing in the first half of the disc, a selection of standards, with a number of arrangements from the extraordinary Art Tatum. Here, Bisbano shows no fear, with rippling fluidity and startling virtuosity in Charlie Mingus’ ‘Duke Ellington’s Sound of Love’, and the wild, fiendishly racing ‘Tiger Rag’. There is some lightness of touch in ‘Alfonsina Y El Mar’, and softness in the rich chords of ‘Yesterdays’, but mostly the requirements of the extreme virtuosity does lead to a somewhat harshly percussive sound in places. However, in the second half of the disc, Bisbano moves to a selection of his own compositions, and the mood is completely different. The virtuosity is still evident, in the driving energy of the extended composition, ‘Metalknife’, for example, but there is also more dynamic variety in the lively, urban ‘Smokey Stogie’, and enigmatic, more lyrical writing in ‘Rose’. He uses the open piano strings effectively at the mysterious start of ‘Metalknife’, and the atmospheric, slow-moving harmonies in ‘Stardust Light’ are highly effective. And what to finish with? Well, a cover of Metallica’s ‘Master of Puppets’, of course. He captures the relentless drive and percussive hammering here, once again with highly virtuosic playing, but there are also moments of sudden delicacy in the brief lyrical interludes. Overall, this is an impressive display of virtuosic talent, but for me, it is in his more expressively varied own compositions that Bisbano’s pianistic voice shines.

Review written by:

Review published in:

Other reviews by this author:

Featured artists:

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