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Album Review

Jan Sturiale: In The Life

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Jan Sturiale: In The Life
Jazz artists frequently take popular music and put their own spin on it. It's sometimes surprising how effectively some rock and pop songs will work in a jazz context. Guitarist Jan Sturiale is aware of this, and In The Life features both original songs along with his takes on some classic jazz and pop songs.

Sturiale was born in Italy and began studying guitar at a young age. Over time, he developed his own sound, and his talent brought new opportunities. He received the Gary Burton Scholarship to study at Berklee College and has since established himself as a prominent jazz player, session musician, composer, performer, author, and educator. He's worked with artists such as Hiram Bullock, Bob Reynolds, Dean Brown, and many others. In The Life is his fifth album and features an interesting combination of jazz and rock styles.

In The Life features Sturiale on guitar, Francesco Bearzatti on saxophone, Francesco De Luisa on piano, Alessandro Turchet on bass, and Luca Colussi on drums. The musicians have a tight-knit unity that comes through clearly.

The album title comes from The Beatles' song "A Day In The Life," which is featured. There have been jazz versions of this song in the past. Wes Montgomery, for example, recorded it shortly after its release in 1967, but it's probably not the most obvious Beatles song to choose considering its overall complexity. Sturiale, however, does an excellent take on it, and his treatment captures the basic melody along with the experimental quality of the original.

The covers featured show the diversity of Sturale's influences. Along with "A Day In The Life," he does jazz renditions of Soundgarden's "Black Hole Sun" and Madonna's "Live To Tell," both of which work well in this context. He also includes his treatment of Wayne Shorter's "Fe Fi Fo Fum" and Charles Mingus' "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat."

In The Life isn't simply a collection of cover songs. Half of the album features Sturiale's impressive original compositions. Much of the music, and especially "In Her Eyes" and "Green Lake," seems influenced by Pat Metheny. However, Sturiale's work is original and obviously not an attempt to imitate Metheny. He is an impressive musician whose style is his own, and he is in full form on this recording. De Luisa and Bearzatti also provide some very tasty work throughout and all of the musicians are excellent players.

In The Life is certainly modern jazz, but that term sometimes has the connotation of being experimental or avant-garde. Rather than breaking away from tradition, Sturiale builds from the past to bring a new level of understanding to the present. In The Life is a satisfying album on every level and hopefully will introduce new listeners to this talented artist.

Track Listing

In Her Eyes; Green Lake; Night Expansion; A Day In The Life; Powder; Chelsea; Live To Tell; Fee Fi Fo Fum; Black Hole Sun; Goodbye Pork Pie Hat.

Personnel

Jan Sturiale: guitar; Francesco Bearzatti: saxophone, tenor; Francesco De Luisa: piano; Alessandro Turchet: bass; Luca Colussi: drums.

Album information

Title: In The Life | Year Released: 2021 | Record Label: Drawtheline Records

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