It is easy to find fault with the jazz community’s tendency to be New York-centric when it come to discussion of talent. Too often the New York press and jazz labels have overlooked the thriving urban jazz communities of Chicago and San Francisco in their myopic approach to this music. I’d like to take this discussion a step further and focus much deserved attention on the Italian jazz scene and in particular pianist Cinzia Gizzi.
Trained at Boston’s Berklee School of Music, this Rome based pianist has been recording for ten years and her latest Soul Eyes is likely to propel her into the international spotlight. Recorded at Stefano di Battista’s (his 2000 Blue Note debut is also worth a listen) studio, Gizzi brings together her decade-long working trio of bassist Giorgio Rosciglione and drummer Gege Munari. The classically trained Gizzi brings to mind a Bill Evans/Keith Jarrett approach to the keyboards initialing each tune with its full emotional possibilities. Munari and Rosciglione back Gizzi in similar fashion to Jarrett’s standards trio. Munari lovingly works the cymbals throughout.
The music flows from traditional Italian folk music through Ellington, Mal Waldron and Bud Powell. She takes on Powell’s “Tempus Fugit” with a Latin-tinged ease and a swiftly two-handed attack. The trio plays Gizzi’s “Tarantella” with a march-step waltz time. Saxophonist Stefano di Battista sits in on two tracks sowing his inside and outside playing. Gizzi’s ease of expression certainly emanates from her European sensibilities. She is certainly a welcome addition to our ever-widening jazz community.