A Multicultural Surprise. My AAJ colleague Glenn Astarita forwarded this Mitteleuropa disc my way describing it as “Italian Jazz”. I have had some experience with RED records, Sergio Veschi’s Milano venture that includes documenting performing Italian Jazz musicians. With this in mind, I approached Frammenti ( Fragments ) with a somewhat pinched expectation and what I got was a musically eye-opening experience. I was expecting something mainstream and got something from the fringes.
The disc opener is a little Antony and Cleopatra with Olatz Gorrotxategi’s eerie voice sounding very North African. “Surabaya Johnny” sounds like pre-war Berlin cabaret. The remainder of the disc defies description, being a melting pot of cultures deftly blended musically. This music is like mixing hip-hip, Bluegrass, Western Swing, and Show tunes and making it all work. The musicianship is uniformly fine (or else this type of disc would never have worked— and for that matter, it might not). There is something here for all listeners to appreciate. The wisdom, challenge, and fun is finding it.
Track Listing: Wide; Surabaya Johnny; Il Paradiso Sui Tetti; Iluna Teilatutan; Start; Franziska; Carolina. (Total Playing Time 63:06).
Personnel: Olatz Gorrotxategi: Soprano Voice; Mario Fragiacomo: Tromba, flugelhorn, Luca Bonvini: Trombone, slide trumpet; Robert Favilla, Jr.: keyboards; Robert Della Grotta: Bass; Filippo Monico: Drums.
First time I met Lee Konitz, my mentor who completely changed my life, in 1992. He was giving a masterclass at the Cologne Conservatory (Germany) where I was a freshmen (with playing experience around three years total)
First time I met Lee Konitz, my mentor who completely changed my life, in 1992. He was giving a masterclass at the Cologne Conservatory (Germany) where I was a freshmen (with playing experience around three years total). He saw an alto sax on my neck and said: Hey, how about you there, would you like to play something for us? I played a piece with the piano. OK, said Lee, how about you play something unaccompanied? Oh yeah! I was deep into transcribing Sonny Stitt and pretty much into playing as fast as possible as many right notes as possible. So I played Oleo in about 300 beats per minute and was very proud of myself. Lee was tapping his foot all the way through. Hmm, he said, that was in time and all that... (I thought - yeah, of course, haha!) and then he said, You've got a lot of quantity, how about quality? It took me 15 years to realize what he meant.