Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Giovanni Allevi and Stefano Bollani

In my opinion Jimi Hendrix has been one of the greatest musical genius ever. His feeling is absolutely unique. Nobody has ever been steps ahead like him. Nowadays a lot of guitar heros could play hundreds of notes per second. But without sentiment. Pure technical power. So boring! Even when I think about instrumental albums, like a solo piano album, I just pair it with this bad feeling. Boring. Boring. Boring!

As sometimes happens then arrives something that makes me change my mind. Probably something strange. Unique. I don't know. I just know that this time the thing that made me change my mind is related to a couple of Italian artists (piano players). The names are Stefano Bollani and Giovanni Allevi.

The first time I have seen Stefano Bollani was on an MTV's broadcast. He was playing live some solo tunes. Brilliant, no doubt. But then he did an experiment. He has asked to the audience to write on a piece of paper a tune he should play. No limits at all to the requests. 5 or 6 have been chosen randomly: Smoke on the water, like a virgin, Summertime and others. Very hard job for Stefano. But just after a few seconds he has played a great medley of all this songs. Absolutely incredible. Unbelievable. Ok. Quite easy. It was a TV show. For sure everything has been carefully prepared before. Or not?

Just to have some kind of proof I have been at his live show some days after. I was really curious. Incredible. At the end of the show he did the same experiment. The audience was shouting the name of the songs for the encore. He wrote more or less 10 titles. And after a few seconds he started a wonderful medley. I was there and I can witness this extraordinary experience. But what has really impressed me is the wild and creative attitude he has playing the piano. And the audience too has impressed me much. Complete silence during the performance. Explosion of noise, claps and whatever just after the last note of each tune! Amazing.

As a consequence of this nice experience I felt ready for testing another Italian piano player. Giovanni Allevi. He is a very shy guy with a great sensibility. His last album (piano solo!!!), Joy, put a spell on me! Since from the very first listening I had a positive feeling with it. I have found myself listening the whole CD for 3 or 4 times in a row. After that I did feel a little bit strange. Confused. Never in my life I thought possible for me to like so much instrumental music. And without any guitar too! But the truth is that Giovanni Allevi is simply magic. Any of his note could transfer real emotions.

An hazardous comparison could be between Giovanni Allevi and Jimi Hendrix. More than all in a couple of tunes. The first one, Downtown, reminds me the experiment made by Jimi Hendrix to reproduce the noise of the traffic with his own guitar. The second one, Jazzmatic, is a crescendo where rhythm and the dynamic of the player are simply unbelievable. And powerful. As only Jimi's guitar was.

Sometimes is really nice to be wrong and change mind. Thank you Giovanni. Thank you Stefano.

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