All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

13

Tommaso Starace: Italian Short Stories

Bruce Lindsay By

Sign in to view read count
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.

The photographs that inspired Starace appear in the rather lavish CD booklet. They display melancholy and nostalgia ("Echos Of Naples" from 1958, "The Bubble Vendor" from 1960); the joy of the fair ("Let The Magic Begin," 2000) or of dancing ("Recollection," 1958); the smile of a young child as she stares into a car full of sheep ("The Amused Gypsy Girl," 1966). Strangest of all is the oddly unsettling picture of young boys wearing cut-out animal masks ("Olivetti's Touch," 1974).

Starace's musical responses are varied. "Recollection" opens with a snatch of scratchy old '78, an unidentified male singer straight out of a long-forgotten music hall show. Starace's first appearance is on soprano, a bright, flowing sound that readily reflects the photo's subjects—Michele Di Toro's sparkling solo also captures the movements of the young dancing couple. "Olivetti's Touch" is a sprightly soprano/piano duet, filled with the optimism of childhood—absolutely no indication that Starace is unsettled by the mask-clad youngsters.

"Jamme!" responds to Gardin's photo of two men and a boy zooming through Naples on a motor scooter with an up-tempo slice of post-bop jazz. Drummer Tommy Bradascio and bassist Attilio Zanchi drive the tune, Di Toro punctuates with emphatic chords and Starace and guest musician Paolo Fresu energetically trade phrases. It's just a quintet, but the full-on sound wouldn't shame a Charles Mingus big band. "The Amused Gypsy Girl" is the album's other high energy tune, Starace's sprightly alto lead line owing much to "Salt Peanuts." In contrast, "Interius Tranquilitas" is as tranquil as the title suggests, a feature for Zanchi's confident yet gentle bass solo.

One tune each from Di Toro, Zanchi and Bradascio, plus Maurice Ravel's "Adagio Assai," complete a strongly melodic collection. The old cliché about pictures being worth a thousand words may well have some truth to it—but on Italian Short Stories Gardin's pictures, like Erwitt's before them, find new life in these instrumentals.

Track Listing: Recollection; The Bubble Vendor; Motion In Stillness; Ravel's Waltz; Let the Magic Begin; Olivetti's Touch; "Jamme!"; Interius Tranquilitas; Nothing Must Change; The Amused Gypsy Girl; Sensually Deranged; Adagio Assai From Piano Concerto In G Major; Back To My Roots; Echos Of Naples.

Personnel: Tommaso Starace: alto saxophone, soprano saxophone; Michele Di Toro: piano; Attilio Zanchi: bass; Tommy Bradascio: drums; Paolo Fresu: trumpet, flugelhorn (5, 7, 12, 13).

Title: Italian Short Stories | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Universal Music Group

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read A History Of Nothing CD/LP/Track Review
A History Of Nothing
by Mark Corroto
Published: July 21, 2018
Read Turbamulta CD/LP/Track Review
Turbamulta
by Glenn Astarita
Published: July 21, 2018
Read 3 CD/LP/Track Review
3
by Jim Worsley
Published: July 21, 2018
Read World Domination Vol 1: Furie CD/LP/Track Review
World Domination Vol 1: Furie
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: July 20, 2018
Read 20 CD/LP/Track Review
20
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 20, 2018
Read Frank Salis CD/LP/Track Review
Frank Salis
by Mark Sullivan
Published: July 20, 2018
Read "Poetry in Motion" CD/LP/Track Review Poetry in Motion
by Liz Goodwin
Published: May 21, 2018
Read "Songs Of Universal Peace" CD/LP/Track Review Songs Of Universal Peace
by Mark Corroto
Published: May 4, 2018
Read "The Four Seasons" CD/LP/Track Review The Four Seasons
by Roger Farbey
Published: November 16, 2017
Read "You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To" CD/LP/Track Review You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 24, 2018
Read "Manhattan Sunset" CD/LP/Track Review Manhattan Sunset
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: April 13, 2018
Read "Book Of Sound" CD/LP/Track Review Book Of Sound
by Gareth Thompson
Published: December 8, 2017