ALKI - Alki Guitar Trio
Magali Rischette - 6 string guitar
Adrien Brogna - 7 string guitar
Hughes Kolp - 10 string guitar
Label: GHA Records
Since 2008, ALKI GUITAR TRIO brings together Hughes Kolp, Magali Rischette and Adrien Brogna. The 3 Belgian guitarists were students of Odair Assad. Since then they toured together in Brazil, France (International Guitar Festival of Paris), Germany, Poland, Belgium.
In this first album, the ALKI GUITAR trio settled on compositions written by North American and Brazilian authors which, if they address in their structure and their complexity the talent of classical interpreters, flirt nevertheless with the freedom of expression and the spontaneous accents of jazz and popular music.
Hughes, Adrien and Magali bring to the still restricted repertoire of the guitar trio new pieces - written for them or transcribed by themselves - to which the combination of their six, seven and ten strings guitars confers a particular sound relief.
"Voici un Cd qui mêle œuvres originales - dont certaines dédiées au Alki Guitar Trio – et des arrangements comme celui des préludes de Gershwin où le trio réussit à sonner comme un piano. De Kevin Callahan, on apprécie la Suite Seattle et ses passages évocateurs des différents quartiers de la ville avec ses traits blues et jazz, et ses différentes ambiances. Techniquement sans faille, avec une mise en place parfaite, l’Alki Guitar Trio fait entendre une capacité rare à adapter timbre et expression aux différentes exigences de style, tantôt avec un vibrato ample comme dans Tristorosa de Vila-Lobos, tantôt avec une manière plus percussive comme dans le Maracatu de Sérgio Assad. Intensité et musicalité sont au rendez-vous pour une interprétation parfaite."
François Nicolas, Revue Guitare Classique
George Gershwin premiered his three Preludes for piano for the audience of the Roosevelt Hotel in New York in 1926, the year of their publication. These short pieces which were originally supposed to be part of a much more important set of preludes are written in a typical American jazzy style with a rhythmical Brazilian touch in the first prelude.
For his Suite Seattle, Kevin Callahan started with the titles first, thinking about the important regions of the city of Seattle where he lives and of the city's history.
Denny Regrade is named after an area of Seattle where large portions of earth were moved to create one of Seattle's oldest inner-city neighborhoods - an area in Seattle during the city's construction where planners decided to flatten the existing hill, using the earth to fill and extend the harbor. The Regrade is a place where the rich live amongst the poor; where secretaries, architects, artists, busboys, laborers and lawyers live and work beside the homeless and unemployed.
The opening of this movement evokes - in rhythmic patterns with a touch of minimalism in spots - images of machinery during the construction phase while the second half of the movement introduces elements of jazz and blues creating something of the bar scene where the music sounds rather improvised.
Alki Beach inspired the second movement named Alki. It is the place where the Denny party, Seattle’s first white settlers, arrived in November 1851. They were helped through their first winter by a band of the Duwamish native Americans, led by Chief Seattle. Alki Beach has attracted summer crowds since the early 1900s and continues to do so today. The original pronunciation of Alki was "Al-key" - but during the alcohol Prohibition period in the US, the pronunciation changed to "Alk-eye", as "Al-key" is slang for alcoholic.
This movement evokes a summer beach scene, although a darker section in the middle refers to the November month, a month of cold rain and clouds when the settlers first arrived and were exploring the unknown. Here again minimalist elements are present, but much of the harmony is informed by jazz; a short loosely-quoted line by Wes Montgomery in the middle section of the movement might make jazz aficionados chuckle…
Skid Row is named after another important region of the city. Jimi Hendrix grew up on Yesler Way, also known as "Skid Row". The first skid row was originally known as Skid Road - and officially, Yesler Way, where logs were skidded into the water on a corduroy road for delivery to Henry Yesler's lumber mills. After the onset of the Great Depression, the area went into decline, and skid row became synonymous with a run-down area of a town where the unemployed, vagrants and alcoholics tend to congregate.
The opening of this movement pays tribute to Hendrix's "Purple Haze"; the underlying theme can be heard later in the piece as well. The thought was to re-create the sound of logs teetering at the top of the hill, then tumbling down the Skid Road into the water where they bobbled around a bit before heading off to the mill. The structure of the piece resembles a Rondo of sorts, with a humorous theme that keeps coming back.
The Suite Brasileira for guitar trio by Sergio Assad was commissioned in 2010 by the Columbus State University, in Georgia, United States. The suite is built upon traditional Brazilian rhythms from three different parts of the country.
The Maracatu, originally from Recife, Pernambuco, opens the set of three pieces with its strong and peculiar syncopation typical of Carnival style dance. The rhythmic element of the maracatu is here characterized by a combination of light and strong accents in the weak beat of the measure. The melodic element is developed from a simple motif of four notes. The two elements are combined in a set of constant modulations and spiced by the addition of notes to the brief four notes motif.
The second movement is a Ballad - a form of urban romantic song - it is worked from an old theme by Sergio Assad dated from the 1980’s. In simple binary form, the song retains the mannerisms of that era and creates an atmosphere of nostalgic character.
For the final movement of the suite, Sergio Assad refers to the most versatile example of instrumental music originated in Brazil, the Choro. It departs from the typical model of the traditional choro, which usually follows a binary or ternary sectional form. The piece leads to an equal movement between the three guitars. With a constant exchange of thematic material, the three guitars talk to each other in a manner reminiscent of the Baroque style.
Mauricio Carrilho writes his series of fifteen Moacirsantosianas during the year 2005. If the first pieces of the set are showing here and there rhythmical, melodic and harmonic elements reminding Moacir Santos’ style, from the fourth piece on, Mauricio Carrilho starts searching on purpose to recreate the very particular atmosphere of Moacir Santos’music as a tribute to the art of this great Brazilian master (1924-2006). He composes most of the pieces for wind instruments but dedicates the eleventh - which imitates the samba rhythm played by the tambourines - to the guitars of the ALKI GUITAR TRIO as well as the tenth written in a more romantic style.
Fuga y misterio is the fifth of the sixteen tableaux of Astor Piazzolla’s opera tango María de Buenos Aires composed in 1968. The lyrics were written by the librettist Horacio Ferrer. His powerfully poetic text presents María as an allegory of the tango, with which her own story is intertwined, and one could even say with the life of Piazzolla himself, as she accompanies its successive metamorphoses. Fascinated by the city lights, María leaves the suburbs, falls under the spell of the bandoneon and tango and then, having achieved her hour of glory, dies.
© Françoise-Emmanuelle Denis