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Giovanni Guidi : Tomorrow Never Knows

I heard 21-year-old Giovanni Guidi at the Umbria Jazz Festival in Perugia last July, and was knocked out by his combination of advanced creativity and impulsive fearlessness. With the passage of time, you always wonder whether a player is as good as your first impression, and if so, whether a record can capture it.

Guidi’s debut recording is here, and the answer is yes on both counts. He has the instincts to find great hidden material like Krzysztof Komeda’s “Sleep Safe and Warm” (from the film Rosemary’s Baby), and the maturity to feel the darkness between its silences. In Perugia he did several Ornette Coleman tunes, and here he takes “Turnaround” and smokes it. Guidi’s standards do not come from the traditional songbook but from places like Björk (“Jóga” is perfect for him, a hovering unresolved melody on which he can float and ascend) and Radiohead (“Motion Picture Soundtrack” is a stasis that deceptively evolves) and, especially, Lennon/McCartney. His versions of “Norwegian Wood” and the album’s title track are anything but reverent, submerging the former in his own details and fracturing and spattering the latter.

Three others who make major contributions to this album are bassist Francesco Ponticelli, drummer Emanuele Maniscalco (both of whom, like Guidi, know things they are too young to know) and engineer Emanuele Bossi, whose sound is about as good as it gets in the standard CD format.

Tomorrow Never Knows is a stunning start.

Originally Published