Anat Fort’s trio album Birdwatching with Gianluigi Trovesi playing alto clarinet is a wealth indeed. And here once again you are reminded how an idiom deriving from Jazz is transformed into a heady mix of alternating fantasy and tenderness, innocence and seduction. Mood-swings are gentle but extreme, telling you that many pianists ‘admit’ their temperament can reel from sadness (an inimitably ‘blue’ tint) to a crazed exuberance with little else in between. And even when Anat Fort gives you one piece with a close family likeness to another, you listen with a sense of renewal thanks to performances by Fort, bassist Gary Wang, drummer Roland Schneider and, of course, Trovesi of a superb zest, brio and imaginative scope.
Fort has technique in spades, making her something of a girl-wonder of a pianist. She is as dewy-eyed as she is insinuating in ‘First Rays’ and lucid and focuses in the swirling patterns of ‘Song of the Phoenix,’ making you think that you can fall prey to the mystical charms of anything she plays on a dime. In the effervescent ‘Jumpin’ In’ she will have you gyrating round the room (or, for the less athletically-inclined, set feet and heads furiously tapping and nodding). How she relishes the snapshot impressions of nature around her in ‘Earth Talks’ and ‘Sun’ while telling you that ‘Murmurations for a New Year’ is among the most delectable of homages you can pay the turn of Time. Her playing on ‘Inner Voices’ is a wonder of virtuosity (as he lets herself roam in the mystery chase of the presto misterioso, and if the two books of ‘Song of the Phoenix’ provide a welcome break from so much momentum, there is a return to calm as the record ends.
This may be an exercise in grandeur for the pianist, but it is given, like so much else, with unfaltering aplomb. Like everything that Anat Fort has produced on record this too is ineffably memorable. The recorded sound is outstanding as is everything that ECM does from start to finish. And no praise is high enough for Anat Fort’s achievement.
Track List: First Rays; Earth Talks; Not The Perfect Storm; It’s Your Song; Jumpin’ In; Milarepa Part 1; Song of the Phoenix I; Song of the Phoenix II; Murmuration; Meditation for a New Year; Inner Voices; Sun.
Personnel: Anat Fort: piano; Gary Wang: double bass; Roland Schneider: drums; Gianluigi Trovesi: alto clarinet.
Release date: April 2016
Running time: 48:17
Buy album on: amazon