Prolusion. Italian musicians Gianluca MILANESE and Nicola ANDRIOLI are both well educated and established musicians in the Italian and European jazz scene. Both of them have multiple productions to their name, although I understand that flutist Milanese is the only one of this pair that has touched base with progressive rock due to being a member of the Italian band Aria Palea in the ‘90s. “Tessere” is the first joint effort by these two musicians, from what I understand, and was released through Lizard Records in 2011.
Analysis. This is a production where I have to admit that I’m trying to describe music of a nature I’m not at all familiar with. This album doesn’t have anything to do with progressive rock as such, nor does it have any foundation in or connection to rock music either. This is an album consisting of material written for and performed by flute and piano, and basically appears to touch base with three different styles of music along the way. The opening parts of Yellow and some key sequences on Amazzonia focus on mystical sounds and what one might generally describe as a world music influenced landscape. The flute is the main provider of the mystical sounds on both occasions, and in none of the cases are these featured as dominating elements. They do, however, color the proceedings to such an extent that it is worth mentioning. Somewhat more space is given to jazz on this album. Again only rarely in any extended form, and most prominently on the aforementioned composition Yellow, but subtle hints and traces of jazz are found in most of the pieces that make out this CD, and it’s rather obvious that both these musicians know their way around that particular universe. The most notable style explored is, rather unsurprisingly, classical music. I don’t know enough about this field to place this material inside a historical or other sort of context, apart from getting a strong feeling of classical music in just about all compositions. With traces of other styles as already described, but also with many passages, sequences or motifs that sound strangely familiar. Does the lead motif on Clown towards the end of this disc reference Sting’s classic ‘Englishman in New York’, for instance, and is that by plan or by accident? There are quite a few moments like that, but this one among the very few where I managed to track down the familiar sense into a specific context. I also noted that there’s a percussion sound used in Amazzonia that couldn’t readily track down to either flute or piano, so if both of them have been used to create that sound, then I’ll salute these two instrumentalists for being rather innovative as well as fine musicians. While the music explored mainly resides within unknown territories for me that is one aspect of this production that is easily heard: that both Milanese and Andrioli are high-quality musicians with an intimate knowledge about their chosen instruments.
Conclusion. While this album by instrumentalists Milanese and Andrioli may not be a production of interest to those whose taste is limited to rock music, those with a fascination for classical music as well as liberal minded fans of jazz should find this album one that merits an inspection. In particular by those who love the piano or the flute, and especially by those amongst that crowd who have a strong affection for those two instruments combined, obviously.