Jazz Variations


Domani incontri - Agili messaggeri - Un sorriso imprevisto - Salotti letterari - Gelido febbraio - Affollate solitudini - Tranquilla nostalgia - Ricerca inquieta - Specchiati sembianti - Due passi in compagnia di me - Alle prime luci dell'alba - L'attesa continua... Addendum: Quartetto per archi n°1 Allegro - Largo - Vivace.



Gianmario Liuni (Piano), Marco Ricci (Electric Bass Fretless, Double Bass), Alessio Pacifico (Drum)

Quartetto d'archi del Teatro La Fenice: Roberto Baraldi (Violin I), Gianaldo Tatone (Violin II), Daniel Formentelli (Viola), Emanuele Silvestri (Violoncello)


All compositions and arrangements by: Gianmario Liuni


Cesano Boscone (MI) - April 27th,28th,29th,30th,  2010

Advice Music CDAMH028.



One could simply say that every variation leads to permanence. The variation is a variant of something that wants to change but, at the same time, remains in a new form. Precisely for this reason, someone like me –who is presenting these pieces to you – is convinced that the original theme is so vital that it should not be abandoned too soon.

I realized that the theme of “ Domani incontri ” [Tomorrow's Encounters] , with its simple melodic line and consistent harmonic structure, deserved to be explored and investigated in depth so that all of its vital “juice” could be tapped. Of course, improvisation within a piece already represents a need to expand the significance of the theme through variation and permanence. In this case, however, I felt a need to go further and to create new and very different situations that could in some way reveal the potential of the original theme.

But let's listen to the separate pieces. The slow original theme in F Sharp Minor, “ Domani incontri” [Tomorrow's Encounters], is first presented simply and then as three-part polyphony. Afterwards, the variations begin. The first, “ Agili messaggeri ” [Agile Messengers] , changes the mood with a quicker tempo and a really funky rhythm. “ Un sorriso imprevisto ” [A Sudden Smile] shifts the rhythm from 2/4 to 3/4 time, with an impromptu new harmonic structure (the “sudden smile”) in a contrasting major key and double tempo. “ Salotti letterari ” [Literary circles] has ascending and descending arpeggios in which the theme notes are extreme points of reference, almost like ladder rungs or turning points. “ Gelido Febbraio ” [Frozen February] with “ Specchiati sembianti ” [Similar Reflections] , based on two symmetric scales in the middle, are not part of the variations, but were chosen due to their relevance with the context.

“ Affollate solitudini ” [Crowded solitudes] and “ Ricerca inquieta ” [Disquieting Search] shift the theme intervals into a modal key and are enriched with melodic embellishments. “ Tranquilla nostalgia ” [Tranquil Nostalgia] presents the theme in the relative major key, while “ Due passi in compagnia di me ” [Strolling with me] inverts the melody and plays it in 3/ 4 time. Last but not least, “ Alle prima luci dell'alba ” [First Lights of Dawn] freely plays with the original melody while “ L'attesa continua… ” [The Wait Continues…] presents it again at the end of the cycle, performing it exactly but reharmonizing it almost “in sections” and interrupting it with refrains. These are the explanations of the musical form of the compositions. Regarding the contents, I'll leave to the listener the task of interpreting the pieces based on the uncertain but allusive suggestion of the titles of these pieces.

For this project, I wanted electric bass player Marco Ricci , who I sincerely thank for his always precise and relaxed accompaniment and for his superb improvisations that further developed each variation. Many thanks to Alessio Pacifico on drums (who always expresses interpretive sensitivity and creativity) for his advice on rhythmic arrangements that reveal taste and experience. I also enjoyed his ironic wit that livened up our rehearsals and recording sessions.

A special thanks goes to Marco Iannelli , who followed the creative path of the variations, offering productive advice and Pound-like fervor to make me “aspire to complexity.” I also want to thank him for having presented me the Teatro La Fenice String Quartet, which he supervised during the recording sessions, and for his accurate assistance during the mixing phase.

The idea of using strings in the arrangement of the variations came to me while I was composing, but the opportunity of having such exceptional musicians like the Teatro La Fenice compelled me to write two string quartets, an unusual medium for me, the first of which is presented as an addendum to the piece.

in this string quartet, listen closely and you'll hear the familiar theme of “ Domani incontri” in the middle of the third movement, almost like an echo that closes the entire work.

I deeply thank Roberto Baraldi, Gianaldo Tatone, Daniel Formentelli and Emanuele Silvestri, the musicians of the Teatro La Fenice String Quartet, for their affability and extraordinary professionalism. It was a great honor for me to work with them and it was also a splendid music lesson.

Gianmario Liuni



Accustomed to work conceptually original (include among others Il soggetto è il Mare and Conversation with Africa), Gianmario Liuni presents a work of time variations for jazz piano trio and string quartet. Already the composition and type of training program announce the signature style that blends classical and jazz inspirations, as was sometimes done by Liuni. The theme of departure, as in the classical tradition, is exposed in the first track, only to be reintroduced at a time, rhythms, harmonies and different ways, but also enriched with other themes that are intertwined and changed by the differentiation of the training, now a trio - in which it affects Ricci uses the double bass or electric bass - now the quartet, now the two teams at once - that stand out in one of the most beautiful track, "Tranquilla Nostalgia."

The atmosphere is also very different from each other and, from this point of view, the song titles are sufficiently descriptive of the climate that is found in each. Remains in the background a strong lyrical narrative and a spirit of classical origin, Liuni distinctive style, which is present even in those passages in which component prevails jazz.

To strengthen the formal identity of the work, the last three tracks are a classical composition for string quartet, which, however, retains within it a reference to the theme of change.

Overall, the work is valuable for uniqueness, manufacturing quality and usability. And - as others Liuni - is a simple yet elegant and personal way to mediate between the worlds of classical and the jazz.

Neri Pollastri (All About Jazz Italia)