5 June 2015
Stefano Bollani had the most incredible touch that made the Street Theatre's Yamaha grand sound astounding. And he was a monster who could play anything at any speed and drop into dissonance on call, even when it wasn't expected, not least by the audience. And his mate Hamilton de Holanda is probably the best 10-string mandolin player I've heard. He's even been described at the Hendrix of the mandolin, although I can't imagine his the Stars and Stripes would bleed quite like Hendrix' did. HdH was all speed and accuracy and all the right lines that spelt every chord. Not sure I caught dissonance here: mostly consonant but so correct. Correct like what I've heard before, but then I've heard a lot of soloing on changes just like this. Stefano was a great showman, too, prancing and feeding the audience for its entertainment value. That's good and it got a standing ovation and some serious foot stomping for the encore. Not sure I've heard foot stomping quite like this before. But I found it all a bit light, even if the chops were evident and very obviously impressive. I'd like to have heard Bollani in a different format. This one was effective for the latins they played, but tonally limited and didn't offer great variation. Both were obvious masters of their instruments, but just not quite my animator for the night.
Stefano Bollani (piano) performed with Hamilton de Holanda (mandolin) for the Capital Jazz project at the Street Theatre.