Peter Kowald / Alberto Braida / Giancarlo Locatelli - "Aria", Free Elephant

This is a very difficult recording to review. How do you separate yourself from the sound of the man whose music gave you so much joy and warmth over the years? "Aria" is the last studio recording bassist Peter Kowald had recorded before his untimely passing in September 2002. It is unusual in its choice of players - one German and two Italians - but then again, this is what Peter's life was all about: the mingling of cultures, the exploration of world music, the true world music. If it wasn't for Peter, perhaps names such as Sainkho Namtchylak, Xu Feng Xia wouldn't come to international attention. He was always pushing new ground and exploring new worlds of sound. Getting back to the players at hand, the trio is made up of pianist Alberto Braida, clarinetist Giancarlo Locatelli and Peter Kowald on bass. This session sticks to the new music genre. All the pieces are composed by various members of the trio, or by the trio as a collective whole. The pieces are rather pensive, calm and very somber. The clarinet and piano stay out of each other's way for the most part, and when Peter plays it's with ultimate delicacy. His arco sounds are very recognizable. There is no doubt this is Peter Kowald. The only thing that is different is the context of the music, and this is what is so grand about it. He was always looking for a new way of expression, a different way of communicating his ideas. With that in mind, "Aria" stands as his last masterpiece. Since I never had the chance to say this when you were here, "Peter thank you for the music!"

Tom Sekowski

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