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Live Reviews

Umbria Jazz Winter #18 Days 1-2: December 29-30, 2010

By Published: January 6, 2011
Rea's tribute, previously recorded during a session at Schloss Elmau— Piano Works X: Danilo Rea at Schloss Elmau, A Tribute to Fabrizio De André (ACT, 2010)—embraced and highlighted both these characteristics from De André's canon, without failing to welcome the audience with the pianist's own identifiable syntax. Rea, in fact, exploited the lowest notes on the piano with rare skillfulness, and his instrument, raptured in sumptuous crescendos, almost acquired the sound of a Cathedral's organ.




Danilo Rea

Rea's style constantly reminded the audience that playing the piano is a physical act, though he never overdid his climaxes. Equally, he often surprised his listeners with the delicacy of his dreamy pianissimos, as in "Canzone di Marinella," De André's melancholic song dedicated to a youth beauty, found dead in a river during the spring time. Rea's arrangements and passionate interpretations faithfully reproduced, on the piano, the palette of emotional textures which dominate De André's songs, giving shape to a memorable piano solo.

Joe Locke/Dado Moroni/Rosario Giuliani: Stepping on Stars

One of the most interesting aspects of Umbria Jazz (both summer and winter editions) is that it becomes the theatre of original project which mix musicians from highly different backgrounds. Most of the times these formations end up with fostered friendships, and in some cases they sparkle into ongoing collaborations and innovative recordings.


From left: Dado Moroni, Rosario Giuliani, Joe Locke

This is what happened with saxophonist Rosario Giuliani, vibraphonist Joe Locke
Joe Locke
Joe Locke
b.1959
vibraphone
and pianist Dado Moroni
Dado Moroni
Dado Moroni
b.1962
piano
's Stepping on Stars (Egea, 2010). The trio, performing for the first time together at Umbria Jazz 2009, recorded an album featuring original compositions from each of its members. The result is an extremely smooth work which brings together the skillful interpretive and compositional signatures of all these musicians.

The trio's performance at Umbria Jazz Winter followed the same pattern, enriched by live variations stemming from an atmosphere of joy and friendship which ran throughout the show. In "My Angel," the peculiarly liquid nature of Giuliani's alto sound was heightened by Locke's and Moroni's pianissimos. Giuliani just won Musica Jazz's readers' poll as best saxophonist, and each of his phrases confirmed his public's high expectations.

On the other hand, "Brother Alfred"—Moroni's composition dedicated to McCoy Tyner
McCoy Tyner
McCoy Tyner
b.1938
piano
—clarified how this leading pianist masterly exploits the percussive nature of the piano keys, without losing the extremely sharp melodic texture in all his passages. A highly experienced and technically piercing musician (in 1987, at age 25, he was already a judge of the Thelonious Monk
Thelonious Monk
Thelonious Monk
1917 - 1982
piano
Competition
), with a brilliant flair for irony, he turned every change of rhythm into a playful opportunity.

Locke's "Sword of Whispers," a tribute to Jimmy Scott
Jimmy Scott
Jimmy Scott
b.1925
vocalist
(whose style was once described with the same words by The New York Times) disclosed the metamorphosis of Scott's whispers into Locke's vibraphone dynamics. In this piece, Locke was particularly sensitive in maintaining the metaphor by not letting his beats blast till the very end. A self-declared passionate for good English writing, Locke applies the same philosophy of the elegant choice of musical vocabulary on his own instrument.

Photo Credit

Courtesy of Umbria Jazz Winter


Days 1-2 | Days 3-5


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