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There aren’t many ECM albums that mix live-audience rapture with solemnity-mocking jokes from the performers, but label boss Manfred Eicher won’t feel he is risking this revered company’s credibility with this delightful set. The Italian pianist Bollani and the Brazilian De Holanda, who plays the bandolim (a 10-string mandolin), have worked op a largely South American repertoire of tangos and love songs, variously trating them with dazzling virtuosity, humour and captivating tenderness. Baden Powell’s Canto de Ossanha has both players pounding the woodwork like a conga section, and the estatic finale takes in classical restraint, feverish Latin dancing and ragtime piano. This remarkable duo’s pleasure in their work is infectious.
John Fordham, The Guardian

Solche Dinge passieren nur im Jazz. Beim ersten abendfüllenden Konzert des italienischen Pianisten Stefano Bollani mit Hamilton de Holanda, dem derzeit amtierenden Weltmeister am zehnsaitigen Bandolim – es ist dokumentiert auf „O Que Será“, aufgenommen beim Jazz Middelheim Festival in Antwerpen – glaubt man, das Staunen der vielen Ohrenzeugen förmlich zu hören, bei jedem Stück. […] Fantastisch, wie die beiden Virtuosen sich hier die Bälle zuspielen, ihre spontane Interaktion immer wieder steigern und auf Zuruf Klassiker von Baden Powell oder Chico Buarque in Echtzeit variieren.
Karl Lippegaus, Süddeutsche Zeitung

Man muss Superlative anhäufen, um dieser CD gerecht zu werden. Es ist die Aufzeichnung eines Konzerts, das Stefano Bollani und Hamilton de Holanda am 17. August vergangenen Jahres in Antwerpen aufführten. Es war ein magischer Abend am „Jazz Middelheim“ Festival und das Publikum geriet aus dem Häuschen ob dem, was sich auf der Konzertbühne abspielte. Da musizierten zwei Virtuosen auf atemberaubend hohem Niveau und mit unwiderstehlichem Drive. Der Pianist Bollani und de Holanda mit der 10-saitigen Mandoline verschmolzen ihre Melodien zu einer Stimme, jagten sich gegenseitig durch Hochgeschwindigkeitspassagen, improvisierten irrwitzige Miniduette, spielten Schlagzeugsoli auf ihren Instrumenten und fanden wieder zusammen in bewegenden, poetischen Klangbildern. […] Ein Sommernachtstraum.
Jörg Schwerzmann, Bolero

Mehr atmosphärische Dichte ist nicht möglich. Und mehr Virtuosität sowieso nicht. Diese Live-Aufnahme […] dokumentiert eine Sternstunde. Eine Musik von schimmernder Melancholie, der Flügel wachsen.
Roland Spiegel, BR-Klassik

This duo of Italian pianist Bollani and Brazilian bandolim player de Holanda positively fizzes with almost furiously dynamic invention, good humour and dazzling virtuosity. The bandolim (I had to look it up, too) is a 10-stringed mandolin, close in pitch to the conventional instrument but with more tonal warmth, de Holanda is clearly a master of his chosen instrument, and he has worked with expert jazz improvisers before, among them accordeonist Richard Galliano and banjo player Bela Fleck. Bollani’s fluid and endlessly inventive playing has been a delight at concert and on record for many years, and this latest venture is a valuable addition to his previous ECM creations. The duets were recorded live at the Jazz Middelheim festival in Antwerp last year, and the atmosphere is quite extraordinary, the audience clearly revelling in every brilliant musical interchange.
John Watson, Jazzcamera

With de Holanda—equally expansive in range and a star in his own right, having collaborated with everyone from Richard Galliano to Bela Fleck—Bollani has, perhaps, found the perfect partner. Not only does de Holanda possess similar instrumental mastery, but he is as capable of pushing Bollani to turn on a dime as the pianist is in driving the mandolinist to change directions at thought-speed, the pair occasionally throwing in seeming ‘non sequiturs’ that invariably reveal themselves as anything but.
‘O que será’ is like watching two hyperkinetic kids in a musical candy store, looking to sample everything they can get their hands on. On pieces like Bollani's ‘Il Barbone Di Siviglia, (The Tramp of Seville)’ and the frenetic closer, ‘Apanhei-te Cavaquinho’ there's an exciting sense of the two playing constant cat-and mouse, Bollani breaking away from form into a high-speed passage of unfettered freedom only to get pulled back in by de Holanda, as if to say ‘catch up!’ The mischief is palpable; it's almost possible to see the two grinning at each other madly as they interact, sometimes at speeds that would be considered impossible were they not here to be heard.
But an overarching sense of humor and relentless synchronicity don't mean that Bollani and de Holanda aren't capable of greater sensitivity. The duo's opening look at ‘Beatriz’ is short and sweet, while Antonio Carlos Jobim's ‘Luiza’ and (Astor Piazzolla)'s ‘Oblivion’ are, if not totally serious, then at least clearly reverential, as the two instruments engage at a near-mitochondrial level.
The inclusion of audience reactions throughout the show help make ‘O que sera’ a breathtaking 54-minute break from life's trials and tribulations; as close to being there as any audio recording can be, it's proof positive that serious music can be fun, too.
John Kelman, All About Jazz

Virtuosity abounds in this live recording from the Jazz Middelheim festival in Antwerp in 2012, but overriding the impressive technical display is the sheer joy inherent in these performances. The ability to play anything and go anywhere on their instruments, rather than a hindrance, is a tool that is used with much good taste and exhilarating results that are never flashy for the sake of technical wizardry. [...] A nicely balanced programme of delicate duo interplay interspersed with the dazzingly complex lines that the two musicians weave in the uptempo pieces. Virtuosic this music may be, but the end results justifiy the means as the pair seek to push the music to the heigth of their considerable abilities. The end of the album may leave you breahtless, as indeed it did the audience present at the concert, but this is duo playing of astonishing quality where the two musicians explore mutual musical ground and then push themselves further, always looking for the next level, and frequently finding new things to say.
Nick Lea, Jazz Views

Was sofort ohrenfällig wird, ist das phänomenal gute Zusammenspiel der beiden. Absolut synchron bieten sie verzwickte Läufe dar, wie aus einem Atem heraus werden Steigerungen gestaltet, dabei ergänzen sich der perkussiv brillante Klang von de Holandas Bandolim und der samtig warme Klavierton Bollanis, der manchmal beinahe an ein Fender-Rhodes-Piano erinnert, ganz ausgezeichnet. Dramaturgisch ist das Album gekonnt zusammengestellt und bietet viel Abwechslung (...) Da wäre man gerne live dabei gewesen.
Mario-Felix Vogt, Fono Forum

A dazzling display of instrumental prowess but, more importantly, a gorgeous album of music.
Peter Bacon, The Jazz Breakfast

Pianist Stefano Bollani and guitarist Hamilton de Holanda are caught at a 2012 concert in Antwerp and mix passion and melody, with an alarmingly attractive interplay between the two. Delicate moments of ‘Beatriz’ highlight romantic empathy, while frenetic fingerwork are on display on the rousing ‘Caprichos De Espanha.’ A bit of a Neopolitan traffic jam occurs on ‘Il Barbone Di Siviglia,’ but they dance like long lost friends on the title track. And if you’re looking for serenades, go no further than the lovely ‘Rosa.’ I hope this wasn’t a one-off affair, as these guys play like compadres. Encore!!
George W. Harris, Jazz Weekly

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