Eleonora Strino, I Got Strings, CAM Jazz ***1/2

I wasn't so inspired looking at the list of tunes - they seemed far too familiar. But wait - that nagging feeling vanished immediately on listening and believing in the interpretations rather than worrying about repertoire. At no time did I feel …

Published: 26 May 2023. Updated: 9 months.

I wasn't so inspired looking at the list of tunes - they seemed far too familiar. But wait - that nagging feeling vanished immediately on listening and believing in the interpretations rather than worrying about repertoire. At no time did I feel overwhelmed by sheer virtuosity either although it's clear the quality of the playing on this 2021 Berlin recorded studio album is sky high. There is a lot of simplicity and above all a ringing clarity to what Italian guitarist Eleonora Strino brings here in the company of two far better known musicians than she is internationally. For how long that relatively low profile beyond la bella Italia remains, who knows.

Bassist Greg Cohen - known for his work with Tom Waits, Ornette Coleman, David Sanborn and so many more - and with whom Strino has appeared with paying homage to Cy Coleman on Si Cy is joined in the trio by drummer Joey Baron who was with Bill Frisell in one of the guitarist's most fertile periods in the 1990s and who has also worked together with Cohen in John Zorn's Masada Quintet.

If you also like the vintage sounds of Pasquale Grasso then Strino is your kind of guitarist although Grasso takes it an extra mile or two to say the least. Great to find this - the pared back versions of the Luis Bacalov outrageously sumptuous Oscar winning theme for 1990s film Il Postino and Bruno Martino classic 'Estate' I returned to with a lot of pleasure. Certainly Cohen and Baron are ideal trio partners and Strino has a lot of charisma it's clear from I Got Strings as priceless a quality to add to the calibre of musicianship as any. Stephen Graham

Eleonora Strino, photo: Camjazz

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Looking ahead to next week's gig of the week

GIGS TO GO TO COMING UP INCLUDE THESE SELECTIONS: Marcus Joseph, Romarna Campbell, Robocobra Band on the Wall, Manchester tomorrow Robocobra have been around a while breaking out beyond their local Belfast scene via wider appreciation and word of …

Published: 26 May 2023. Updated: 9 months.

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GIGS TO GO TO COMING UP INCLUDE THESE SELECTIONS:

Robocobra have been around a while breaking out beyond their local Belfast scene via wider appreciation and word of mouth. The ''punk-jazz'' on Living Isn't Easy is really about energy so create a Venn diagram with free-jazz skronking on the left, dingy dystopian beat spoken word poetry on the right and in the middle that's the kind of punk jazz you move towards. Drummer leader Chris Ryan who also does the messianic vocals is eminently charismatic as a ''front'' man while the band heart is centred on bass guitarists Nathan Rodgers and the multi-tasking Ryan Burrowes. Tom Tabori, Peter Howard and Thibault Barillon do the skronking. Living Isn't Easy preaches to the converted and that number is growing all the time.

Ruins Everything has riffing horn ensemble work set against the rampaging percussion of Myke Vince with neat guitar from Elijah Nishita in the blend operating much more convincingly here than the doomy guest spoken word 'Birds and Trains' pieces, vocals or rap on what is otherwise the mellow Ruins Everything from Bristol septet Snazzback who certainly offer an eclectic approach on their new recording. Pick of the tracks is the brightly voiced 'Vitamins' that comes with fine trumpet work from Alfie Grieve.

GIG OF THE WEEK

Love in Exile released in March proved rather beautiful - the sufi dimension and deft minimalism developed throughout on this point of departure of a new sound - especially 'Shadow Forces'. In jazz piano icon Vijay Iyer's case a world away from Entrustment the sound is also nothing like his fine folkloric Tirtha group nevertheless closest in spirit to elements of the Verve release but still miles away from this vocal led meditation. Arooj Aftab sings the eerie, compelling, Urdu blues. The 2021 Aftab song 'Mohabbat' went on to win a Grammy for the Saudi born US based singer of Pakistani descent. On bass and Moog synth Shahzad Ismaily - a member of Aftab's band in other contexts and known for his work in Marc Ribot's Ceramic Dog and as a guest of Krononaut - completes the sound on an engrossing New York studio recording.

Arooj Aftab, Vijay Iyer and Shahzad Ismaily's Love in Exile photo: cover art detail