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Giovanni Guidi: ‘There for the Rest of Your Life’

The pianist reflects on the responsibilities of recording

Giovanni Guidi
Giovanni Guidi (photo: Caterinadi Perri/ECM)

The most competitive instrument in jazz is piano. It is not easy for new jazz pianists to get on the radar in the United States. If they live in Italy and work mostly in Europe, it is much harder. Therefore make a note of this name: Giovanni Guidi.

He is not exactly new. In 2006, when he was 21, he was artist-in-residence at the Umbria Jazz festival in Perugia, Italy’s biggest annual jazz event. That same year he released his debut recording, Tomorrow Never Knows, on Venus. He already sounded like Giovanni Guidi. The music has his dark left-hand chords and his jagged percussiveness. It has his poetic right-hand single-note lyricism. It has his rarefied harmonic sensibility. Most impressively, it has his control of narrative tension. On the opening track, “Sleep Safe and Warm,” Guidi’s clenched hesitations create one of the most dramatic versions on record of Krzysztof Komeda’s haunting song.

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Thomas Conrad

Thomas Conrad has a BA from the University of Utah and an MA from the University of Iowa (where he attended the Writers Workshop). He taught English at Central State University in Ohio, then left the academic world for the private sector. His affiliation with publications such as JazzTimes, Stereophile, The New York City Jazz Record and DownBeat has enabled him to sustain active involvement in two of his passions: music and writing.