Emilia Vancini & Augusto Pirodda - And if You Fall, You Fall

Benelux-based duo Emilia Vancini (voice) and Augusto Pirodda (piano) will release their début album titled "And if you fall, you fall" on the 5th of June 2020. After a collaboration of more than a decade, the two Italian expat musicians entered the studio in July 2019 to record an album that is truly in the moment and captures the spontaneity of their approach to the standard jazz repertoire.

The album features a collection of jazz standards and is the result of a 9-hour's of live studio recording, completed in three sessions over the course of seven months. For this album, the two decided to meet in the studio and record the jazz standards that they both know and love.

While recording, the two performers discovered the freedom derived from not programming or arranging the songs beforehand, instead letting their musical intuition take the upper hand and allow the moment to determine the direction the music takes. The result, a compendium of improvised jazz standards performed by voice and piano that re-imagines the structure, harmony and melody of these beloved compositions.

Emilia Vancini & Augusto Pirodda
And If You Fall, You Fall - Album Teaser.
While both Emilia and Agusto stem from Italy, the two came to know each other during their studies at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague. Since their first meeting the two have collaborated on a number of projects yet, it's their work in a duo format that has remained in the forefront.

The concept behind the album was to fully capture the spontaneity the two have developed over the years. Emilia mentions that both she and Augusto have developed a collective sense of where the music should go, or perhaps better said, they have developed their own musical lingua franca. Emilia added "It works best when we just let nature take its course". However, the album's concept extends further than just the musical aspect. As eluded to in the albums title, taken from Johnny Burke's lyrics for 'But beautiful', the album is also a poignant reminder of challenges we all face and society's expectations of perfection, yet offers positivity and comfort in being yourself, living in the moment and accepting your flaws.

Recorded in The Hague's Happy Bird Studio, the album forces the mind to pause and embrace the intimacy of every note. Emilia said when asked about the recording: "We really enjoyed the spontaneity of the process". This album certainly does highlight the intimacy of the process, "There are no edits, each track is exactly as performed and any imperfections just add to the authenticity" Emilia continued.

As mentioned above, the album re-imagins the material presented. Jan Veldman, senior writer at Jazz In Europe wrote when reviewing the album; "... all bets are off, Augusto and Emilia throw caution to the wind and cross every conventional stylistic boundary to create something beautiful and truly unique". Both Emilia and Augusto bring each track up to date by injecting it with their own personality, nothing is sacred, not even the lyrics. Emilia said, "The lyrics of 'If I Were A Bell' were supposed to be: "that's the way I've just got to behave" but, I couldn't bring myself to sing that, so I changed them. Some of the songs from the 1930s include words like 'swell'. These don't capture the right emotion for me. As a singer I feel very privileged to be able to use lyrics, as well as harmony and melody, to convey meaning."

'Just Friends' is taken at a slow medium tempo and offers a unique singer's perspective. Emilia's own interpretation of the lyrics, and the feeling they create, adds a sorrowful twist on the regular upbeat swing format that is so often given to this song. Her vocals are expressive, and conjure up the image of Joni Mitchell singing with the evocative tones of Helen Merrill in a smoky New York jazz joint in the 1950s.

The album includes renditions of songs where the traditional melody is thrown out the window and the lyrics allowed to dictate the path as in 'On The Sunny Side Of The Street' while others are given a more musical theatrical reading as in 'If I Were A Bell'. This album is not the traditional vocal recording where the pianist fulfils an accompanying role. Throughout the album Pirodda interjects in the conversation, often steering the melody in the most unexpected directions including using his instrument in non-traditional ways as in Monk's 'Ruby My Dear'.

With "And if you fall, you fall" traditional form becomes irrelevant and yet, this album is not a "Free Jazz" album, melody always takes the upper hand. This album is a document of two highly creative musicians musing on familiar repertoire. It's consistently on the edge and the results are surprising.

The album is scheduled for release on June 5th 2020 and will be issued on CD, Vinyl LP and available on all digital platforms.

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