Sophia Domancich Trio

Gimini Music 1001, 1991
Funerals ****
Lydia ****
Subtil ****
Défilé ****
B. Rubatto *****
Mardi Gras ****
Back Where We Began *****
Funerals 2 ****
Derision ****

written by Domancich, except "B. Rubatto" by Tocanne/Domancich; lyrics ("Back Where We Began") by Greaves
arranged by Domancich

piano: Sophia Domancich
bass: Paul Rogers
drums: Bruno Tocanne
saxophone: Alan Guillard
trumpet: Yvon Guillard
trombone: Jérôme Naulais
vocal: John Greaves ("Back Where We Began")

recorded July 1991
produced by Gimini Music Production

The Sophia Domancich Trio present some mellow and, appropriately, funereal music. Like a funeral, the album progresses in a stately manner. The music is in no rush to get anywhere. Part of that comes from a tendency for the longer pieces to soon descend into jazzy avant-noodling, abstract sections that stand out of time.

While pleasant enough in themselves, I found these sections could disrupt the development of the longer pieces. Thus, I prefer the condensed version of "Back Where We Began" on Greaves' Songs or the shorter pieces here, like "Lydia" (after Sophia's sister). It is between the abstract parts where Domancich's writing really shines: as on "Lydia", with  Sophia's simple but beautiful piano playing complemented by intelligent arrangements using Rogers' bass, or earlier in "Back Where We Began", when the piano is combined with some haunting vocals from John Greaves. The more abstract parts are sometimes better combined with the melodies, perhaps best so on "B. Rubatto" or in the coda of "Back Where We Began", yet one otherwise has to be in the right mood for them.

A funeral should be melancholic, yet still also a celebration of the life that was. Funerals achieves such a balance: the music does contain a muted joy, along side regret. Further, there is an undercurrent of fear—at our own mortality?—at times, as with "Défilé" or the introduction to "B. Rubatto". It is also very peaceful music. In all, Funerals makes for an absorbing album from the new French branch of Canterbury.

Henry Potts, 17 Sep 97

Originally posted to and to What's Rattlin' #67.

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