Ida Lupino is a fresh and creative album, distinguished by deep listening and focused interaction. At its centre is the remarkable improvisational rapport of two Italian musicians – pianist Giovanni Guidi and trombonist Gianluca Petrella. Their musical understanding – already apparent to listeners who heard them in Enrico Rava’s band – has been further refined in a widely-travelled duo which seeks encounters with fellow improvisers. “Our duo work is really defined by our collaboration with other artists,” Guidi says. The present album both builds on established relationships and the stimulus of new encounters as they are joined by – in Petrella’s words – “two masters of contemporary jazz who are really on our wavelength”.
For this recording, Manfred Eicher brought Guidi and Petrella together with US drummer Gerald Cleaver and French clarinettist Louis Sclavis, for a set of music by turns introspective and outgoing. The Italians had played previously with Cleaver, on an early Guidi album called We Don’t Live Here Anymore, but Sclavis had never met the other musicians prior to the session at Lugano’s Stelio Molo RSI auditorium. “It’s very precious this kind of musical relationship,” Louis Sclavis says, “on the one hand, it’s very fragile but at the same time there is a strong connection between the players. We are four people for one music, and we don’t know where we’re going, but we control the journey.”