Amorgos isn’t a jazz album, but it’s on a label run by a jazz and free improv musician, George Haslam, with an ear for intriguing world music. Amorgos is one of the most eastern Greek islands in the South Aegean Sea. Here, Ada Pitsou composes her music, and its landscapes and moods inspired this suite of 10 instrumental pieces – impressions of places she knows and loves. Pitsou studied in the USA, in Vermont and at Boston’s New England Conservatory. Since 2003 she has released eight CDs, which feature her compositions, lyrics and singing.
Although there are no vocals on this album, there’s a plangent ethos. All compositions are by Pitsou, and the music is mostly quite gentle and evocative. As one reviewer noted, there’s an ECM feel, cool and European, with influences from the less radical end of 20th century classical composition. The opening track, Mouros, for solo piano, features environmental sounds of dripping and splashing water. The gentle, melancholic Giasemi juxtaposes sounds of howling wind against strings and drums. Hora is livelier, more dance-like, with scurrying percussion, while Stroubos features resonant, singing cello; Potamos is performed by piano and drums. The results are attractive – more demanding than New Age, but not individual enough to quite pull me in. More information on the composer can be found at adapitsou.com.
Mouros; Giasemi; Hora; Agia Anna; Hozoviotissa; Agios Panteleimonas; Seladi; Tholaria; Stroubos; Potamos (45.08)
Pitsou (composer); Dionisis Vervitsiotis (vn); Angelos Liakakis (clo); Thodoros Kotepanos (p); Nikos Sidirokastritis (d). Athens, June 2018.