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Gianmarco Ferri: On The Scene

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Gianmarco Ferri: On The Scene
It is an interesting idea to pair a young, gifted guitarist just starting their career with a well-known jazz pianist. The guitarist in question is Italian Gianmarco Ferri. Following auditions, he won consecutive scholarships to attend Berklee College of Music, where he graduated with honours in 2022. Pianist David Kikoski is another graduate of Berklee. He is a Grammy Award winner and has played with the Mingus Big Band, Roy Haynes, Randy Brecker, Billy Hart and many other prominent musicians. On The Scene is Ferri's debut. Rhythms are provided by bassist Stefano Battaglia and drummer Luca Santaniello. Saxophonist Marcello Allulli guests on one track.

Ferri composed four of the seven tracks. The jaunty "Kiko's Delight," loosely based around Tadd Dameron's "Tadd's Delight," sees Ferri and Kikoski play in tandem before Kikowski moves into one of his distinctively flowing runs. Ferri takes over with a swinging improvisation. Battaglia and Santaniello trade short solos to close a stimulating opening track. Ferri takes inspiration from Ahmad Jamal's "Poinciana" in the lively "New Hope." He plays expressively and Kikoski brings his magic to the track.

The bluesy, cosmopolitan groove of "Mirage" gives Ferri space to build an absorbing improv. Kikoski brings swing and Battaglia and Santaniello neatly drive the rhythms. Kikoski plays an engaging introduction to the ballad "So Close." The late-night feel is enhanced by the addition of guest tenor saxophonist Allulli.

There are three cover versions. Sam Jones' "Unit 7" gives Ferri the chance to recognise Wes Montgomery's influence on his playing. He brings a strong taste of Montgomery's style as his guitar riff takes the band into a swinging groove. Fine solos from Kikoski and Battaglia add further gloss to the track. The band realises that less is more as they give an unembellished interpretation of Irving Berlin's "They Say It's Wonderful." Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein's "The Song Is You" is performed as a piano and guitar duet. Both musicians excel, bringing rhythmic and melodic understanding to accentuate the charm of the song.

Ferri shows considerable maturity in his compositions, and his playing and sensitivity bely his age. He is unafraid to wear his influences on his sleeve, but he is no mere imitator. His solos are well-shaped and compliment the beauty of the piano work. His creativity combined with Kikoski's keyboard mastery make for an engaging combination. Battaglia and Santaniello provide excellent support and Allulli is an inspired addition, making this an entertaining and appealing debut.

Track Listing

Kiko's Delight; New Hope; Mirage; So Close; Unit 7; They Say It's Wonderful; The Song is You.

Personnel

Additional Instrumentation

Marcello Allulli: tenor saxophone (4).

Album information

Title: On The Scene | Year Released: 2024 | Record Label: GleAM Records


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