Pianist Giovanni Guidi’s new album for ECM, Avec le temps, opens with a penetrating take on the title cut, a somber French chanson by composer/lyricist Léo Ferré. But Guidi’s touch on the keys is so light, and his interplay with bassist Thomas Morgan and drummer João Lobo so thoughtful, that a quiet optimism subsumes the tune’s doleful message (“In time, all love fades...”). By opening with such a known song, the only non-original on offer, Guidi establishes melodic sensibility as the album’s precedent.  

 On this record, as on his two earlier ECM releases with his trio, City of Broken Dreams and This Is the Day, Guidi demonstrates an astute propensity for emotive melodies, a skill that he doubtless honed during his years as a rising player with two of Europe’s finest creative musicians, trumpeters Enrico Rava and Tomasz Stanko—both masters of space, tone, and tension. Similarly, the additional instrumentation on the new release—guitarist Roberto Cecchetto and saxophonist Francesco Bearzatti play on six of the eight tracks—only heightens the kinetic intensity of the album’s originals: Bearzatti, doubling Guidi’s riffing on the group composition “No Taxi,” strengthens the tune’s bebop feel.  Cecchetto’s gentle picking on Guidi’s ballad “Ti Stimo” introduces the theme from which Bearzatti and Guidi launch their satisfyingly out solos.  And the unison sections on Guidi’s blues-derived “15th of August” rise up as full and round as any large ensemble. 

 Like the album’s opener, the last tune in the collection tugs at the heart. “Tomasz,” an homage to Stenko, who passed away in July 2018 at age 76, features the trio in an affecting melodic contemplation with an extended outro. The tune, a reluctant goodbye to an honored musician, seems to have trouble ending. If in time all love fades, for Guidi that time is not yet.

 Tracks: Avec Le Temps; 15th Of August; Postludium And A Kiss; No Taxi; Caino; Johnny The Liar; Ti Stimo; Tomasz. [41:58]

 Personnel: Giovanni Guidi, piano; Thomas Morgan, double bass; João Lobo, drums; Francesco Bearzatti, tenor saxophone; Roberto Cecchetto, guitar.

 (Reprinted from the May 2019 issue of Downbeat magazine.)