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Giovanni Guidi: City of Broken Dreams

Here’s a trio that stands apart from the pack. Teamed with the brilliant young American bassist Thomas Morgan and Portuguese drummer João Lobo, 28-year-old Italian pianist Giovanni Guidi makes spare, haunting music that draws you in deeper with each listen. Guidi’s first album as a leader for ECM-the perfect label for his airy, open sound-City of Broken Dreams does more with less than any album in quite some time.

This trio never breaks a sweat-the rhythmically jagged, shape-shifting “No Other Possibility” comes closest-but the album, comprising folk-style tunes, waltzes and classically informed reflections, is never lacking in the sort of quiet intensity that is a challenge to sustain. Built on a four-note figure, “The Forbidden Zone” offsets its wistful melody with subtly threatening colors, as if touched by an approaching storm. “Ocean View” boasts a calypso tinge. “Leonie” has a subdued gospel feel. Throughout, the music gains color and depth through the interplay between Guidi’s gentle, languid phrasing and Morgan’s deep, singing tones.

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