13 April 2022
By Guest Writer
Dave Jones reviews the 22-track album released on the German jazz and classical label, Mons Records
'Mia Brentano's Summerhouse'
New Music for 2 Pianos
Benjamin Nuss & Billy Tess (pianists)
Cat in the Window, Dreaming Mathilda, Funky Fox, Moon River and more
Review by Dave Jones
'Mia Brentano’s Summerhouse' is a very pleasant and enjoyable album of 22 tracks, predominantly for two pianos, with the exception of the opener The Letter, Desert Island, Sleepy Landscape and the two closing bonus tracks (Henry Mancini’s Days Of Wine And Roses and Moon River). It’s music that sits on the fringes of various styles, and is sometimes inspired by specific songs (e.g. by Joni Mitchell and Jimi Hendrix).
You can hear the popular-sounding edge of early 20th-century French classical music, and more than a tinge of pop and rock. Jazz puts its head above the parapet on the two closing tracks, particularly Days Of Wine And Roses, effectively working as an encore, and a very good one at that.
As those are the only overtly jazz-orientated tracks, I wonder if the authentically jazz-sounding Days Of Wine And Roses has an improvised solo within it, or whether it’s a planned, perhaps notated solo – it could easily be either of those. That won’t matter to most listeners, but might have been an interesting additional piece of information in the sleeve notes, for some.
Overall, the performance of the two pianists seems effortless, conveying Brentano’s music with style, whether as a duet (the majority of the album) or solo piano. Some of the album seems as though it might prove suitable for the moving image, but that’s a somewhat overcrowded field at the moment, partly as a result of the relatively recent Covid-19 lockdowns, where many musicians turned their attention from live music-making to composing production/library music for TV and Film.
You can stream the album on Spotify below.