The 70-year-old Argentinean pianist and composer Carlos Franzetti delights in mixing things up. Over four-plus decades he’s recorded symphonic (most recently, 2017’s Luminosa and 2018’s Buenos Aires Noir) and solo projects; composed film music and conducted, arranged and orchestrated others’ works (Paquito D’Rivera, Steve Kuhn, Ruben Blades); slipped seamlessly between jazz, tango, and classical music; and sung standards. Nothing seems to be out of his reach.
The purest expressions of Franzetti’s talent may, however, be his small-combo efforts, and Ricordare (“to remember”) is a piano-trio gem. With David Finck handling bass duties and Eliot Zigmund drumming, Franzetti offers up four originals and a half-dozen interpretations, ranging from the Ennio Morricone title track to a trio of the most familiar melodies in the Western lexicon (“Danny Boy,” “When You Wish Upon a Star,” “Over the Rainbow”).
Franzetti displays something of a split personality on Ricordare. His ballads are warm, inviting blankets, rolling easily and seductively; his uptempo numbers breathe fire. The aforementioned title track introduces the dynamics at work. Casual and tender at first, virtually drum-free, it picks up midway into its nearly eight minutes. Finck’s move to arco mode comes as a jolt, opening up the vista most cinematically. “Danny Boy,” at key turns barely recognizable, serves as a showcase for the pianist’s precision as well as the rhythm section’s uncanny knack for anticipation and the clever turn of phrase.
Naturally, there is tango to be found, but its placement is more subtle than overt: The Franzetti composition “Allison’s Dance” is practically giddy rhythmically, but never does it wear an identity as one specific thing or another. Franzetti opts to bow out solo, with another self-penned number, “Song Without Words,” as whole and fulfilling as anything else that’s just occupied the past hour.