New Grigio Review on “The Guardian” by John Fordham


This is a lyrical, culture-bridging jazz-tinged folk album led by Francesco Turrisi, a creative, Italian-born pianist and arranger living in Dublin. The unusual lineup includes soprano sax, cello and frame drums, but the dominant voices are those of Irish traditional singer Roísín Elsafty and the multilingual, London-based folk and early-music vocalist Clare Sanabras. From Sanabras’ ringing declamation of 17th-century Italian composer Barbara Strozzi’s Che Si Puo Fare – with its soft cello lines and piano ostinato, and the contrasting thud and flicker of the percussion – through the slow sax weave and scything cello slurs on John Zorn’s Hadasha, to Elsafty’s haunting sigh on the traditional Irish song Seoithin Seo, the session is an atmospheric fusion of traditions, and Turrisi fully deserves the “musical alchemist” compliments he has been getting in recent years. For jazz listeners, it may take more than a plucked bass or a passing trickle of Jarrett-like piano improv to make this more than a graceful folk album with some jazz inflections, but it’s sensitively assembled and beautifully sung.

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