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Francesco Amenta: Midtown Walk

Edward Blanco BY

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Francesco Amenta: Midtown Walk
Italian-born, New York-based tenor saxophonist Francesco Amenta presents his American debut recording Midtown Walk, his second project as leader, offering seven original compositions and a cover tune ("Come Sunday") from Duke Ellington whose music he admires. Now an international recording artist, Amenta paid his dues performing in Italy and attended the Royal Conservatory in The Hague, Holland in the Kingdom of the Netherlands, which has a long and rich tradition with jazz music. Now a New Yorker, Amenta quickly immersed himself in the vibrant jazz scene of the Big Apple where the talent-rich city led him to perform with two Greek-born musicians, bassist Kimon Karoutzos and drummer Gary Kerkezou, whom he would draw upon to record this album. Completing the quartet is none other than legendary pianist Cyrus Chestnut, who brings his own stylish key work for this endeavor as one will note on the first tune and the swinging "Burgundy 45."

This full-throated saxophonist quickly dispels any notion of being a novice with his formidable chops on the opening "Dancing," written for his wife Costanza, a dancer herself except that the tune is not a dance number, but rather the opening salvo of an album full of traditional straight-ahead jazz with a bebop element at its core. "Home" provides plenty of solo space for the leader, where apparently he feels right at home. Bassist Karoutzos introduces the lengthy "Bunch of Time," then turns the music over to the rest of the group to establish the melody on the first of three eight-minutes plus numbers on the album.

A taste of the progressive bebop/cool jazz sound comes shinning through on the fast-tempo splashy "Number 9," featuring a delicious call and response moment between the pianist and the leader on a piece where the drummer makes her mark. The tempo slows down dramatically on the warm and gentle ballad of "06/22," a truly enchanting chart and a departure from the other songs.

The almost twelve-minute "Come Sunday," brings the Midtown Walk session to a close, marking one impressive outing and the start of more to come from Francesco Amenta, a talented player and composer we will probably hear more from in the future. Well done!

Track Listing

Dancing; Home; Bunch Of Time; Number 9; 06/22; Travellers; Burgundy; Come Sunday.


Francesco Amenta: saxophone, tenor; Cyrus Chestnut: piano; Kimon Karfoutzos: bass; Gary Kerezou: drums.

Album information

Title: Midtown Walk | Year Released: 2021 | Record Label: Amenta Music International

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