Avec le temps
Giovanni Guidi piano
Francesco Bearzatti tenor saxophone
Roberto Cecchetto guitar
Thomas Morgan double bass
João Lobo drums
Recorded November 2017, Studios La Buissonne, Pernes-les-Fontaines
Engineer: Gérard de Haro
Mixed July 2018 by Manfred Eicher, Giovanni Guidi, and Gérard de Haro (engineer)
Mastering: Nicolas Baillard
Produced by Manfred Eicher
Release date: March 22, 2019
ECM has always been a label of surprises. Every now and then, however, it reaches beyond the unexpected into something eternal. Such is the feeling of Giovanni Guidi’s Avec le temps, an album so meticulous in its attention to detail, form, and formlessness that it feels inevitable. It’s one of those dates that reveals new layers with every iteration, and in doing so proves those layers to have been always with us.
The title track is a chanson by Monaco-born Léo Ferré. As the only of the set not written by Guidi, it reflects the bandleader’s equal passions for lyricism and spontaneous invention while introducing a core trio with bassist Thomas Morgan and drummer João Lobo. Stripped of its poetry yet replaced with a wordless other, it travels like a caterpillar born to sing this one song before it chrysalizes into something winged.
“15th of August” introduces the full quintet with which the session is concerned, treating tenor saxophonist Francesco Bearzatti and guitarist Roberto Cecchetto as necessary organs in a maturing body. As such, their spirit of unity finds clearest expression in the relatively straightforward “No Taxi.” That said, the untethered “Johnny the Liar” and “Postludium and a Kiss” are no strangers to continuity of purpose. Throughout the latter piece, Bearzatti lurks in the creaking of an emotional door before soaring as a guardian bird overhead to gather melodic rainfall in his bell.
Morgan, as can be expected, is just so present. He daubs only where paint is needed, applying memorable arco strokes in “Caino.” This tune is moreover a prime showcase for Guidi’s boundless imagination, cascading in the final stretch with all the beauty and pain of a world drowning in divided color schemes.
“Ti Stimo” highlights guitarist Roberto Cecchetto ability to lay down a melody that resounds even when not being played, while “Tomasz” (written in memory of trumpeter and ECM stalwart Tomasz Stanko) concludes in earnest farewell. One of the most exquisite creations to grace these years in recent memory, it prays in circles until it cuts a hole in the ground large enough to fall through in search of those who have left us.
Despite the album’s title—which translates in English to “It may take time”—it takes no time at all to catch on to the beauty of what’s going on here. This will surely go down as one of the ECM’s finest of the decade. Timely and timeless.