Stefano Bollani, piano & Hamilton de Holanda, mandolin – O Que Será – ECM

by | Oct 18, 2013 | Jazz CD Reviews

Stefano Bollani, piano & Hamilton de Holanda, mandolin – O Que Será – ECM 2332, 54:09 [8/27/13] *****:

There seems to be a growing group of totally amazing soloists on instruments which previously were not considered legitimate solo instruments in either classical or jazz: ukelele, banjo, erhu, harmonica and now—with performers like Chris Thiele—the mandolin. Hamilton de Holanda, of Brazil, is the world’s master of the bandolim, a ten-string mandolin.  He and his cohort, the Italian jazz pianist Stefano Bollani, have an absolutely amazing empathy, and their enthusiasm for what they are doing is contagious and most exciting.

The pair here perform at a jazz festival in 2012 in Antwerp, Belgium, and we hear not only the very appreciative audience sounds but also the mocking jokes from the two performers, who seem to having a ball during this set. The program is one of mostly South American tangos and love songs, but treated with unbelievable virtuosity, humor and yet tenderness when appropriate. Sometimes they pound on the woodwork of their instruments to achieve a percussive accompaniment. I can’t properly pronounce most of the selections here, but my favorite is undoubtedly Piazzolla’s great tune, “Oblivion.” It comes just before the grand finale track, which mixes wild Latin dancing and ragtime piano sounds and brings everything to a tumultuous conclusion.

It was a mark of the performers’ confidence in their trust and improvisational chops that they decided to record this album live. They obviously want to maintain a feeling of spontaneity and risk in the recording that must be present in spades at their live performances. And of course Manfred Eicher has preserved the duo in the best possible fidelity, even after downsampling to the low-res CD standard. Eventually you can probably get it higher-res as an online download.


  • 01 Beatriz 3:25
  • 02 Il barbone di Siviglia 6:27
  • 03 Caprichos de Espanha 3:04
  • 04 Guarda che luna 6:51
  • 05 Luiza 6:18
  • 06 O que será 5:26
  • 07 Rosa 3:36
  • 08 Canto de Ossanha 8:53
  • 09 Oblivión 4:35
  • 10 Apanhei-te Cavaquinho 5:24

—John Henry

Related Reviews
Logo Autumn Hill Records Full Size
Logo Pure Pleasure