In a way, Quentin Tolimieri may appear as an enigma. A pianist/composer who has published his music on labels such as Edition Wandelweiser and Creative Sources could generate in the (silly) reviewer a certain kind of expectation, grounded on the commonplace according to which those imprints privilege acoustic environments often close to stillness. I never listened to the recordings anyway – will definitely do – therefore this is a first meeting for me. In opposition to the aforesaid expectations, Piano consists of a fair number of tracks (including two variations on famous jazz standards) where the dosage of notes played is, in general, rather high. But, above all, it’s the artist’s lucidity that convinces in full. For all this, the listener grows the feeling of sitting in front of a special act.
Tolimieri knows – and masterfully exploits – the value of the relationship between a given temporal fragment and the almost implausible independence of his fingers, each one seemingly looking to find a different rhythmic illumination, or a plurality of answers to as many technically advanced riddles. Besides, when relaxed atmospheres are evoked (see the version of “On Green Dolphin Street”), even the more spacious chords get studded with intriguing shades and small clusters, the harmony “tarnished” via a sensible use of dissonant resolutions, so to speak. In essence, nothing ever remains genuinely suspended in the sound of this awesome performer, except perhaps in the last episode “Fin”, a cascade of wonderfully oblique arpeggios. The sense of complex geometries in perpetual motion, the instinctively efficient translation of the improvisational intuition, and Tolimieri’s highly developed inner ear amount to an assurance of excellence. The record was released in 2017, but it will ring in your darling reporter’s memory for countless years to come. Hopefully many of you, dear readers, will try to share the experience.