Monday, March 13, 2017

Alessandro La Corte 5et - Smile in Winter (ALFA MUSIC 2017)

Alessandro La Corte has been actively performing for over a quarter of a century, and he is an important animator of the jazz scene in Salerno and the Campania region of southern Italy, where this pianist and arranger has orientated himself with ease (and still does so) and where he has had the opportunity to play with almost all of the great jazz musicians of this part of the world. La Corte’s musical heart seems to beat to the piano rhythms of McCoy Tyner, especially the less academic and studied style that the latter adopted when playing with various groups in the seventies, when his creative maturity as an instrumentalist, soloist and composer had reached the summit of its development.

In this album this fact is absolutely evident not only in the track specifically dedicated to the African American artist, but also in the harmonic approach, and in the peculiar spirit of the modal-tonal game that Tyner made famous and that has remained his trademark. This is a dense kind of music with a crescendo of emotional intensity that La Corte has created in his role as the leader of a quintet, within which he leaves ample room for the solo piano, for the canonical trio featuring double-bass and drums, and for displaying his great talents as an arranger. When he writes for a big band, La Corte alternates fullness and emptiness, and he gives the wind instruments a sound that is compact and rich, but also light, and almost fluffy in the parts for the horns. The use of the baritone sax, which clearly stands out in almost plastic relief from the unified orchestral sound, is very distinctive.

The music that La Corte has written for the jazz quintet has a particularly pressing and closely-knit rhythm, which always keeps the pace of the gradual crescendos of intensity and the changing directions of his music. He makes the most of two saxophonists – Jerry Popolo and Carla Marciano – each of whom has a very different style and with whom he can emphasise the creative contrasts that so strongly distinguish his own approach to making music. The former draws nourishment from the great tradition of the jazz tenor sax, while adopting a modern style, expressing himself with warmth and melodic clarity, and giving his phrasing a spacious sound that is full of harmonics, which add a special depth and emphasis to each individual note. The latter, who is also the pianist’s partner and companion, clearly sees John Coltrane as her main point of reference and she uses the saxophone with great intensity, with a torrential, lacerating and penetrating flow with of notes, supported by an excellent technical approach to the instrument.

Popolo and Marciano work together to create a broad palette of many different colours and they complement each other by giving an orchestral feel also to pieces written for a small ensemble, thereby showing how very congenial they are to the pianist’s attitude. After all his choice of musical partners has to be based on the characteristics of the music as well as his own plans and intentions in his role as the frontman or leader, because he can only achieve his artistic goals in the company of musicians whose attitude is perfectly in harmony with his own ideas. This record has therefore been realized with musicians who are intimately involved in the project. Its historical reference points are very clearly stated, with some precise expressive connotations. In addition it is plainly based on a desire to bring the concert dimension of the music and the sense of growing climax that is typical of the live performance into the recording studio. (This is also why the tracks have a rather long duration, which is in any case necessary for this type of music).

These then are the main elements of this record and you may or may not like them, or you may criticize La Corte for declaring his sources of inspiration so frankly. (But is this really a such a bad thing?) You will however be bound to recognize the value of his aesthetic coherence and the indisputable clarity of his creative approach. These are qualities that can also be found in the versions of two famous pieces by Paul Simon and the Beatles, and thus from the world of pop music, which have been revisited and revamped by a genuine jazz philosophy, rather than by the usual pseudo pop attitude. In the case of “Yesterday” La Corte perfectly succeeds in the difficult task of turning this indisputable masterpiece, which is about as far from jazz as one can possibly imagine, into an authentic jazz ballad. Maurizio Franco

1 Smile In Winter 8.56
2 The Sound of Silence 12.48
3 Unknow Tone (Annotone) 8.40
4 Yesterday 10.36
5 One for McCoy 9.16
6 Live on Keaps 10.45
7 Blues At 25 CM 10.19

Alessandro La Corte piano & Fender Rhodes
Carla Marciano alto & sopranino sax
Jerry Popolo tenor sax
Marco de Tilla double bass
Gino del Prete drums

Raffaele Carotenuto trombone on "One For McCoy"

Brass Section on "Smile In Winter"
Ciccio Verrengia trumpet
Nicola Coppola trumpet
Carla Marciano alto sax
Peppe Plaitano ten sax
Raffaele Carotenuto trombone
Alfonso Deidda baritone sax
Carla Marciano sopranino sax (overdubbed)

Recording Data

Recordings: Elios Recording - Castellammare di Stabia - Naples
Sound engineer: Carlo Gentiletti
Mix and mastering: Luca Bulgarelli
Final mastering: AlfaMusic Studio – Rome
Sound engineer Alessandro Guardia

Arketypos Trio - Arketypos Trio (ALFA MUSIC 2017)

Music is an archetype of humanity.
It may have preceded verbal language.
While Dancing humanity created music, or from the music did
he starting dancing...?

For us jazz is like painting: classical, expressionist, realist, mannerist,
impressionist, surrealist, symbolist or any other style.

In front of a painting, initially, one allows himself to be carried away by
the emotion transmitted by the vision as a whole, then slowly began to
delve deeper into the details and, analyzing them, the free association of
ideas gives rise to the “free communication” process between the artist’s
intention and the sensibility of the observer.

So, as Miles Davis once said: “A song tells you what to think with the
lyrics. But with an instrumental composition you can think about whatever
you want”.

For a jazz musician composition and improvisation are two aspects
of the same instinct: the first is more thoughtful and conceptual, while
the second is emotional and spontaneous. In any case, the objective is
the non-verbal communication, beyond the words, using the universal
language of music.

In this sense, Arketypos or rather archetype, expresses the true essence
of sensible matters, transcending them; a primordial image contained in
the collective subconscious. Music, in this manner, returns to its origins to
reactualize and renew itself.

1 Mediterranean Fight Song
2 Nerano
3 Remembering
4 Coixedda
5 The Wait
6 The Giants
7 Lydian Song
8 Electric Riot 

Antonio Carboni - guitar
Luca Primo - electric bass
Gianluca Costa - drums

Recording Data

Recording: Groovefarm Studio - Rome
Sound engineer: Davide Abbruzzese
Mix: Superdry Recording Studio - Rome
Sound engineer: Fabrizio Frezza
Mastering: AlfaMusic Studio – Rome
Sound engineer: Alessandro Guardia

Romano Zuffi & Stefano Cantini - Attuttallaria (ALFA MUSIC 2017)

"Attuttallaria", nuovo capitolo musicale a prosecuzione del precedente Attuttogasss (AlfaMusic, 2015) nasce ancora dalla "follia" creativa del pianista e tastierista Romano Zuffi e del sassofonista Stefano Cocco Cantini. 

Altri grandi e nuovi "navigatori" si sono uniti alla realizzazione di questo Album.

Un grande pittore: Giampaolo Talani (originalissimo ed unico creatore della bellissime cover di questi Album), un geniale batterista: Alfredo Golino, un poeta del contrabbasso, in questo lavoro anche al basso elettrico: Ares Tavolazzi, due chitarristi stellari: Giulio Stracciati e Leonardo Marcucci ed una bravissima vocalist: Jole Canelli (i testi e le traduzioni sono di Naima Cantini e di Elisa Petrucci).            

Il risultato è un Album bellissimo, ricco di coinvolgenti ed articolate sonorità, melodia e armonia, documento di un eccezionale interplay generatosi tra questi grandi Musicisti.

I titoli dei brani, ancora una volta note simpatiche e caratterizzanti de Un viaggio...Attuttallaria..

Riccardo Fassi Quartet (Special Guest Alex Sipiagin) - Portraits of Interior Landscape (ALFA MUSIC 2017)

E' per me un grande piacere  presentare questo ultimo lavoro. L'intero Cd è costituito da mie composizioni scritte in questi ultimi tempi, frutto di una ricerca sul contrappunto, sul ritmo e sull'armonia, con un interesse costantemente rivolto ad un senso melodico che attraversa e accomuna tutti i brani.

L'idea è quella di raccontare una storia che, pur divisa in "capitoli" diversi, si snoda dal primo all'ultimo brano  come un romanzo.

Un paesaggio interiore che trova modo di materializzarsi ed apparire nella sua più reale e chiara evidenza, attraverso i temi, le improvvisazioni e i colori degli strumenti. Fondamentale in questo lavoro è la presenza del grande Alex Sipiagin, un musicista straordinario con cui collaboro dal 2002 in vari progetti e dischi (Tankio Band USA Special Edition,  N.Y. Pocket Orchestra, Quartet, Duo, e  nei cd Fassi- Sipiagin Double Plunge, Riccardo Fassi N.Y. Pocket Orchestra Sitting In A Song,  Analog Trio Guest Alex Sipiagin).

Il suono di Alex e il suo grandissimo talento di improvvisatore sono una fonte di ispirazione costante per me. Alcuni brani sono stati concepiti pensando al suono di Alex.

Essenziale  è stato anche l'apporto dei miei bravissimi collaboratori: Steve Cantarano, Pietro Iodice e Marco Valeri, che interpretano e sviluppano in modo eccellente le mie composizioni, aggiungendo grandi idee e stimoli con le loro creative improvvisazioni.

Nei brani vi sono alcuni omaggi a grandi musicisti con cui ho suonato e che mi hanno ispirato: Dave Binney (Three Chords For D. B.) e Kenny Wheeler ( For Kenny).

Inoltre vi è una ballad dedicata a Bill Evans, che prende spunto da una sua composizione dodecafonica, e sviluppa dei bassi che diventano la struttura di una nuova melodia (Same Bass From Bill). Un brano, Resolved By Me, è dedicato al mio amico Enrico Bracco, grande chitarrista. La struttura armonica della sua composizione Unresolved mi ha ispirato una nuova melodia. Riccardo Fassi

Riccardo Fassi è decisamente uno dei miei musicisti-compositori preferiti. Il suo stile è molto originale e ha un bellissimo approccio melodico-armonico. Una volta che hai ascoltato o suonato uno dei suoi pezzi, resterà con te per sempre ! Sono realmente felice di far parte di questa registrazione.

Alex Sipiagin
It gives me great pleasure to present this latest creation: a CD which consists entirely of my own compositions, all of them written quite recently. They are the result of a research into counterpoint, rhythm and harmony, with a constant emphasis on creating a melodic sense that runs through all of the tracks and effectively unites them. The idea was to tell a story that unwinds like a novel from the first to the last track, divided into a succession of different "chapters". The inner landscape finds a way to be materialized and to appear in a real and clear form, by means of themes, improvisations and the colours of the instruments. In this work the presence of the great Alex Sipiagin is fundamental, as he is an extraordinary musician with whom I have worked since 2002 on various projects (Tankio Band USA Special Edition, N.Y. Pocket Orchestra, Quartet, and Duo) and CDs (Double Plunge by the Riccardo Fassi Quartet with Alex Sipiagin, Sitting In A Song by the Riccardo Fassi N.Y. Pocket Orchestra, and Synthi Mental Moog by Analog Trio with Alex Sipiagin as special guest).

The sound of Alex and his great talent as an improviser are a constant source of inspiration for me. Some tracks were in fact specifically conceived with the sound of Alex in mind. But also the contribution of my talented collaborators Steve Cantarano, Pietro Iodice and Marco Valeri was essential, as they interpret and develop my compositions excellently, adding some great ideas and new stimuli thanks to their creative improvisations.

These tracks contain tributes to some great musicians I have played with and who have inspired me: Dave Binney (Three Chords For D. B.) and Kenny Wheeler (For Kenny). There is also a ballad dedicated to Bill Evans, inspired by a twelve-tone composition of his, which develops some bass-lines that become the structure of a new melody (Same Bass From Bill). Another piece, Resolved By Me, is dedicated to my friend the great guitarist Enrico Bracco, as the harmonic structure of his composition Unresolved inspired me to compose a new melody. Riccardo Fassi

1)  Three Chords For D.B. 5,47
2)  Allegro Rabarbaro 5,36
3)  Bass In The Dark 7,52
4)  For Kenny 8,50
5)  Sathow 4,16
6)  Some Bass From Bil 9,02
7)  Prefetto Di Ferro 3,43
8)  Resolved By Me 3,43
9)  Strange Night 3,49
10) Sweet Heart 8,11
11) Sammy Seven 4,59

Riccardo Fassi piano, fender rhodes, keyboards, minimoog
Stefano Cantarano double bass
Marco Valeri, Pietro Iodice drums

Special guest: Alex Sipiagin trumpet

Cover: iKEa’s FAmily 4 max fONTANA
Produced by Riccardo Fassi for AlfaMusic Label&Publishing
Production supervisor Fabrizio Salvatore

Recording Data

Recordings, Mix & Mastering
AlfaMusic Studio (Rome)
Sound engineer
Alessandro Guardia

Michel Lambert - Alom Mola (2017)

Michel Lambert, batteur, compositeur, plasticien canadien a le grand mérite de proposer dans chacun de ses disques un projet insolite. Il nous avait interpellé avec son « Journal des Épisodes » (2013 - Jazz From Rant) et ses 92 « jingles » sur un CD. Il revient avec un projet également singulier inspiré par la peinture du Caravage et une volonté d’ouverture sur un monde irréel ou ancestral. Un disque au carrefour des genres (jazz, musique classique-contemporaine, écriture-improvisation) qui reflète l’imagination fertile de son auteur. À découvrir pour les curieux à l’esprit ouvert !

Michel Lambert’s latest cd, the 50th production in our Jazz from Rant collection, will be released February 14, 2017. It’s a series of compositions and improvisations inspired by a myriad of sources such a Catalan music in Barcelona, notions of symmetry, paintings by Caravaggio, dream haiku written by Jeannette Lambert and more. The music is accompanied by a 24 page full colour booklet that zooms into Michel’s illustrated scores and paintings.

01. Caravaggio ténèbres et lumières
02. Mille huit fenêtres
03. Cahiers de Barcelone
04. Musique du temps du rêve
05. Alom mola

Michel Lambert : batterie, percussions etc., compositions /+ selon les plages
Pierre Côté : contrebasse
Michel Côté : saxophones, clarinettes, contrebasse etc.
Geneviève Liboiron, Alexander Lozowsky : violon
Jennifer Thiessen : alto
Elinor Frey, Jean-Christophe Lizotte : violoncelle
Pierre-Yves Martel, Nicolas Lessard : contrebasse
Alexandre Grogg : piano
Jeannette Lambert : voix