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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Francesco Cafiso: Moody'n

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"Youth will be served." That is a saying appropriately describing the meteoric rise to success that Sicilian alto saxophonist Francesco Cafiso has achieved since he turned “professional" at nine years old. With Moody 'n, Cafiso plunges deeply into the BeBop canon performing a handful of classics and, in doing so demonstrates both the bravado of a young man and refined musical maturity beyond his years. The alto saxophone BeBop legacy is a lengthy and robust one from paternoster Charlie Parker and his acolytes Sonny Stitt and Jackie McLean on through Art Pepper, Phil Woods and to torch-carrier ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Francesco Cafiso Quartet: Angelica

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Angelica claims a spot as a superior quartet set--alto saxophone and a rhythm section--right at the very beginning, not with the Duke Ellington-penned title tune, but with a Billy Strayhorn gem, “A Flower is a Lovesome Thing." Italian saxophonist and jazz prodigy, Francesco Cafiso--just nineteen years old at the time this music was laid down--ignores the “never open with a ballad advice," proving you can't always let conventional wisdom twist your arm. It's a wonderful, tender exploration of the familiar tune, with the rhythm team shimmering, floating around Cafiso's deliberate and reverent treatment of the melody.“Angelica," the other ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Francesco Cafiso: New York Lullaby

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Yes, he is that good. Or was, on the occasion of this 2005 session, which features the fifteen-year-old native Sicilian saxophonist making his American recording debut accompanied by a crack New York rhythm section. Although it's common to hear rueful expressions about what a Charlie Parker or Clifford Brown might have accomplished had they lived longer, a player as precocious as Francesco Cafiso reminds us of the challenges facing an artist who appears to “be there already, yet has a lifetime before him. In June 2007, when he was seventeen, the altoist made history of sorts when he entered Birdland, ...

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Francesco Cafiso: Happy Time & Jazz Italiano Live 2006

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Veteran jazz writer Ira Gitler recognized the immense talent of a then 13-year-old alto saxophonist named Francesco Cafiso upon hearing him at the 2002 Pescara Jazz Festival, writing a glowing article for the Jazz Journalist Association newsletter. Cafiso attended the 2004 International Association for Jazz Education conference in New York, jamming nightly with pianist James Williams, bassist Ray Drummond and drummer Ben Riley, providing convincing proof to packed audiences that Gitler was accurate in his assessment. Since that time, Cafiso has had the opportunity to record for a number of labels as a leader, including two recently issued by different ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Francesco Cafiso Quartet: Happy Time

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Many names come to mind as convenient references for precocious jazz talents: Pat Metheny, Brad Mehldau, the Marsalises, Bireli Lagrène, Roy Hargrove, etc. With Happy Time Sicilian-born Francesco Cafiso (born in 1989) earns his place amongst such once-profiled wunderkinds.

Having won, among many competitions, the International Massimo Urbani Award at age eleven and the EuroJazz Competition at age thirteen, he has also garnered the attention and support of Italy's principal festival organizers and international musicians alike. Even Wynton Marsalis, who called him “the best thirteen-year-old saxophonist he had ever heard, has hired the altoist for his 2002 European tour.

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Francesco Cafiso: Happy Time

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What's in a title? In this case, a whole lot of helpful clues about the music on this disc. Francesco Cafiso was sixteen at the time he committed this music to posterity, and to say that he has everything a musician working in the modern mainstream context needs is not hyperbole.

A pedant might argue that the alto player is doing nothing new, and that's certainly the case. But this does not alter the fact that even in times when one-time prodigies like Joshua Redman are carving out their territory within the music's broadest continuum, Cafiso has essentially gone one ...



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