Rusconi at Cully Jazz Festival

ImageI was reminded of the story of the Sorcerer’s Apprentice watching this trio perform. Keen to make magic and mischief, Rusconi sometimes found themselves unable to control the proceedings. This was the first gig of the tour and I think their playfulness will win over audiences, they just needed more child-like energy, a sort of innocent conviction, to pull it off at Cully. However, the band were most captivating when they painted afresh their best compositions from the new album, History Sugar Dream.

‘Psychedelia for Laika’
Ankor was a trademark piece, with Stefan Rusconi’s mournful yet sweet piano, rich with echo and thought, sensitively interlaced with Fabian Gisler’s handsome bass notes. The sparse, crispy drum beats of Claudio Strüby balanced the sound perfectly. Sojus Dream used a repetitive theme as its foundation before a synth keyboard sneaked in, providing Herbie Hancock-like funky accents. The track grew in stature as it built a platform for Fabian’s electric guitar to glide through, providing, as they tell us, ‘psychedelia for Laika,’ the dog who was sent out to orbit the earth in 1957 (and died within hours of lift off). I didn’t feel Fabian pierced deeply enough, so it was down to Stefan’s collapse into a warped and weird circus-style piano to trip the track out.

Bowie’s Life on Mars? started up
So, to the ‘high jinks’ – such as swapping instruments amongst themselves, as in Change (Part One), with Claudio on piano, Fabian on drums and Stefan on guitar, and stopping everything for Fabian to put a record on the Technics deck set up onstage. Bowie’s Life on Mars? started up, complete with vinyl crackles to re-enforce the theme of History Sugar Dream – childhood memories, “A time when dreams and hopes, fantasy and illusion, were reality,” as they write in their press release.

This trio is capable of subtle and complex emotions
I like the way Rusconi seem to feel their way through unknown landscapes in their music, playing with fantasy. At one point I thought of dark, rainy scenes in the film Blade Runner with its sense of nostalgia, loss and romance. This trio is capable of subtle and complex emotions. I’d like to have been taken more deeply into these worlds, that’s where the real playfulness lives.


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