Temporary Fault review by Massimo Ricci

WILL HOLSHOUSER TRIO + BERNARDO SASSETTI – Palace Ghosts And Drunken Hymns (CF 160)
Holshouser and Sassetti had shared a stage for the first time in 2004, this album coming five years later as an expected corollary of that initial meeting. The accordionist and the pianist penned the entirety of the program, except for Carlos Paredes’ “Dança Palaciana” which opens the CD. The line-up is completed by Ron Horton on trumpet and David Phillips on bass. Portugal’s musical roots, landscapes and urban environments are admittedly an essential influence on this work, which alternates moments of wholehearted joy – characteristically expressed by odd-metered tunes and folk-ish themes led by Holshouser’s accordion – and pensive reminiscences in which Sassetti’s piano emerges with the customary assortment of introspective melancholy but – a bit of a revelation here – also with a measure of discordant diversity, exemplified by the angular figurations of “Irreverence”. The most lyrical traits, though, emerge courtesy of Horton, whose lines produce immediate images of vulnerability enriched by a rare quality of perceptive self-discipline, letting him appear as the real lead figure in this circumstance. Phillips is a clever, ever-efficient supporter, furnishing the interplay with unambiguous contrapuntal suggestions that help the music to remain anchored to a reality that often tends to be forgotten in such kind of context. A brilliantly rendered example of instrumental narrative mixing popular and experimental factors.

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