62

Mark Soskin: Nino Rota

Dan McClenaghan By

Sign in to view read count
Mark Soskin: Nino Rota Mark Soskin is probably best known for his work with saxophone legend Sonny Rollins. As Rollins' pianist from 1978 to 1991, he contributed to a string of several marvelous CD releases on the Milestone label. These included Dancing in the Dark (1987), which opened with a masterfully straightforward cover of the pop song, "Just Once," that featured Soskin's sparkling electric keyboards.

Soskin's work with Rollins was mostly in the realm of jazz standards, Great American Songbook tunes, and the saxophonist's engaging originals. For Nino Rota, the pianist's third solo piano outing, he chooses to go with a theme-based project: an exploration of the music of the famed Italian tunesmith.

Nino Rota (1911-1979) was an Italian composer best known for his film scores. In the United States, it was his soundtracks for The Godfather (1972) and Romeo and Juliet (1968) that shone the brightest lights on his artistry. Here, Soskin shines his own personal light on some of Rota's compositions, catching the spirit of Rota's music and melding it with his own identity.

Soskin opens with "La Strada." The sound is solemn, hauntingly majestic, wistful. "Juliet of the Spirits—Rugiada Sui Ranicchi" and "Juliet of the Spirits—Teatrino Delle Suore," with their dark tones and moody atmospherics, are presented back-to-back, as if part of a suite.

Unlike much of his work with Rollins (where much of the beauty of the music came from a forthright temporal transparency of approach to often familiar melodies), this Rota remembrance has cerebral depth and a resonant holiness, like music composed in cathedrals but imbued with moods and emotions from outside the reverential rooms. In fact, the sound of Nino Rota, with its reverberant ringing, gives the music—Soskin's explorations of, ruminations on, and deconstructions of Rota's tunes—a quality of sublime timelessness.

Two of Rota's most recognizable works are here, "The Godfather—Theme," treated as a minor blues, and "The Godfather—Waltz." "La Dolce Vita—Suite 1" is the liveliest, most percussive piece on the album, shifting from an angels-drifting-in-the-clouds-above opening to a late-night-in-a-dim-barroom groove.

Soskin wraps up the set with "The Acrobat (From 7 Pieces for Children)"—an original Rota piano composition, rather than a film score. It is a simple, hopeful, beautiful tune, perfect for closing out this outstanding solo piano offering.


Track Listing: La Strada; Juliet of the Spirits--Rugiada Sui Ranocchi; Juliet of the Spirits--Teatrino Delle Suore; The Godfather--Theme; The Godfather--Waltz; Nights of Cabiria; La Dolce Vita--Suite 1; Romeo and Juliet--A Time for Us; I Vitelloni; Amarcord; La Dolce Vita--Suite 2; The Acrobat (From 7 Pieces for Children).

Personnel: Mark Soskin: piano.

Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Kind of Blue Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Northern Adventures CD/LP/Track Review Northern Adventures
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Collider CD/LP/Track Review Collider
by John Sharpe
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Eos CD/LP/Track Review Eos
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 28, 2017
Read More Than This CD/LP/Track Review More Than This
by Henning Bolte
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Road to Forever CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Avenida Graham CD/LP/Track Review Avenida Graham
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 27, 2017
Read "Old Locks And Irregular Verbs" CD/LP/Track Review Old Locks And Irregular Verbs
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 7, 2016
Read "Elevenses" CD/LP/Track Review Elevenses
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 5, 2016
Read "Dreaming With Eyes Wide Awake" CD/LP/Track Review Dreaming With Eyes Wide Awake
by Roger Farbey
Published: December 5, 2016
Read "Checkpoint" CD/LP/Track Review Checkpoint
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 16, 2016
Read "Migration" CD/LP/Track Review Migration
by Budd Kopman
Published: July 20, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!