We’ve greatly enjoyed watching Bruno Bavota‘s career develop over the years. At first self-released, the artist has recently seen a retrospective set issued on 1631 Recordings and has now signed to Sono Luminus for his latest effort. Perhaps the most romantic of the pianists we cover, Bavota continues to allow his heart to lead on Out of the Blue. These pieces are drenched in warmth and ready to woo. Melancholy has no place here; this is a safe haven.
Bavota isn’t simply in love with love; he’s in love with travel, with the mountains, and as evidenced by former recordings, the sea. All of these make appearances on the new album, the sea only briefly on “Marea” (“The Tide”), but enough to wink at those familiar with the artist’s discography. Simply put, Bavota loves at all times and translates his overflowing emotions into piano poetry. Joined here by cellist Michael Nicolas (ICE) and violinist J Freivogel (Jasper String Quartet), he reaches new heights in these pieces; perhaps buoyed by the opportunity to reach a larger audience, he seems more confident than ever. When the strings surge on “Mountains”, the track rises like its title into higher, cleaner air. Add soaring guitars, and this would be post-rock; the construction is similar, the effect triumphant.
And let’s not forget that the composer can easily carry a track by himself; the aforementioned “Marea” demonstrates his ability to shift from simple to complex then to downshift from buoyant into tender. He also plays guitar and contributes light electronics. Even the more orchestrated pieces lie across an ivory bed, the strings acting as a couple bursting through an open door and falling on the cool sheets. Never is this more apparent than on the perfectly titled “Lovers”, which swirls like wind through an open window. Flirtation becomes abandon; abandon turns to happy affection. In “Warm Embrace”, the relationship becomes real.
Smart sequencing ~ solo piano pieces, guitar-led tracks, sometimes strings, sometimes not ~ keeps the listener’s attention and allows the album to flow. Bavota may imply that these songs came out of the blue, but his career certainly has not. Ever higher, ever deeper, ever more in love: this is a trajectory that soars as much into the blue as out. (Richard Allen)
Release date: 30 September