Some musicians appear to conjure their tunes from thin air, others work with raw material furnished by the great composers, still others take their inspirations from many different sources and give them due acknowledgement. Saxophonist Tommaso Starace is in the latter camp. This lyrical, engaging, player's second album, Tommaso Starace Plays The Photos Of Elliot Erwitt (Frame Records, 2006), drew on eight photographs by this master of the camera. For Italian Short Stories Starace returns to this source of inspiration. These are short stories from a very particular Italian--photographer Gianni Berengo Gardin--and they inspire Starace's most ambitious album to date. ...read more
Saxophonist Tommaso Starace is not a man to keep his influences hidden, nor does he simply take inspiration from the saxophone greats. The tunes on Plays The Music Of Elliott Erwitt (Frame, 2006) were inspired by a series of pictures from one great photographer; another, Robert Capa, inspired the title track of Blood And Champagne (Music Center Real, 2011). The gorgeous Simply Marvellous celebrates the life and work of another of Starace's favorites, the much-admired and loved pianist Michel Petrucciani who died in 1999 at just 36 years of age. Starace and his fellow musicians play nine of Petrucciani's songs ...read more
Somewhere in a parallel universe far, far away Tommaso Starace is fêted as one of the finest saxophonists in contemporary jazz. It's the only way to explain why Starace remains so underrated on this little world. Blood & Champagne, his fourth album, should bring Planet Earth into line. Starace has a distinctive, hard-edged, tone and a style that brings together elements of the bop and post-bop greats right back to Charlie Parker. He creates an intense and exciting sound with, at times, a genuinely visceral quality. The Italian-born, UK-based musician regularly leads bands in both countries. On ...read more
Here's further evidence of the fact that there's a whole lot of mileage left in the modern mainstream. There's a slightly acidic quality to Tommaso Starace's alto sax, which serves among other things to set him at some distance from many of the more common influences. On the level of a player, then, this puts him in a good position, especially in view of the fact that his work on the soprano sax might be described as akin to a quirk-free Lol Coxhill, which at least places Starace in one of the most sparsely populated classes.
What completely separates him ...read more