Not only is Italian acoustic guitarist Simone Guiducci a strong soloist, but he's very adept when infusing jazz talents such as Chris Speed (clarinet), Erik Friedlander (cello), and Ralph Alessi (trumpet) into his master game plan. And of course, Guiducci leads a fine sextet consisting of a clarinet/accordion based attack atop a powerful rhythm section.
Guiducci's radiant compositional fortitude features a potpourri of regally pronounced statements and Mediterranean themes, garnished with the soloists? feisty improvisations. The band incorporates a festive outlook with pumping rhythms and blithely organized unison lines among the hornists. On the opener "Gramelot in 6/8," Alessi soars skyward as the band attains a boiling point towards the coda. No doubt, Guidduci's Gramelot Ensemble performs with overt elements of soul and panache via an idealized sense of purpose, as they combine soft melodies with torrid episodes on works such as "La sigagna." The band effectively minces the sounds of Italy with dynamically inclined jazz grooves to complement a few tasty diversions here and there.
Speed leads the group through some highly charged Balkan style passages on occasion, while Friedlander does a superb job of adding pathos to the sentimental characteristics of his original composition "The After Hours." Overall, this is enlightening stuff! Unassumingly charismatic, Guidduci continues to flaunt his personalized approach to modern jazz in a conclusively prolific way! (Feverishly recommended.)
Track Listing: 1. Gramelot in 6/8 2. Voccuccia de no pierzeco 3. La sigagna 4. Chorale 5. The After Hours 6. Kompa 7. Last Chorale and Dance 8. Filastrocca per Martina
I've always loved jazz ...my mother was a classical pianist and my aunt was a blues singer, who was managed by Clarence Williams (Bessie Smith's producer). As a young boy, they introduced me to people like Louis Armstrong, Sarah Vaughan, and Jimmy Smith
I've always loved jazz ...my mother was a classical pianist and my aunt was a blues singer, who was managed by Clarence Williams (Bessie Smith's producer). As a young boy, they introduced me to people like Louis Armstrong, Sarah Vaughan, and Jimmy Smith. We hung out at my Aunt Kate's Soul Food restaurant in Harlem after the matinees at the Apollo where I listened to their stories. I knew I wanted to be a jazz musician from then on. My mother wanted me to play piano, but my Aunt bought me a guitar. I've been playing ever since.
At my mother's early prompting, I first sang Blue Velvet at my Catholic elementary school...and all the nuns came running in and asked me to sing again, so I knew I must have sounded pretty good. I've been singing ever since.
I met Tony Bennett in Miami and he inspired me to return to New York. He was a great mentor.
The best show I ever attended is mpossible to say, I've seen so many great shows. From Tony Bennett to Pat Martino, Return to Forever to Weather Report...I've seen some great performances.
My advice to new listeners is don't let jazz intimidate you, the music has something for every listener and it is our American gift to the world.