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ALBUM REVIEW

Antonio Ciacca: Lagos Blues (with Steve Grossman)

Read "Lagos Blues (with Steve Grossman)" reviewed by George Kanzler

There's a good reason most “real" jazz radio stations tend to favor the modern mainstream jazz of the post-bop era codified by such record labels from the mid-20th Century as Blue Note, Columbia's jazz division, Prestige, Riverside and Impulse. It's creative jazz with a comfortingly substantial physicality, clean lines and rhythmic heft still anchored to a swing feel. The excellent Italian jazz pianist Antonio Ciacca is firmly in that modern mainstream, the music here from a quintet, quartet and trio ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Antonio Ciacca: Lagos Blues

Read "Lagos Blues" reviewed by J Hunter

Four decades ago, Miles Davis called then-burgeoning saxophonist Steve Grossman “an important voice in this music." One of the people who heard that voice was pianist Antonio Ciacca. Lagos Blues, Ciacca's second disc for Motema, not only shows Grossman's influence as Ciacca's former teacher; it also includes the now-legendary tenor player's direct influence, as he joins Ciacca's regular quartet for the date.

Ciacca says Grossman once compared his former student's writing style to Horace Silver and Benny Golson. That assertion ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Antonio Ciacca: Rush Life

Read "Rush Life" reviewed by Karla Cornejo Villavicencio

Antonio Ciacca Quintet's Rush Life is a welcome and valuable addition to the contemporary jazz catalogue, where it will rest easy, knowing its place. There are bits and pieces throughout the nine tracks that serve as hopeful reminders that the album could have been more provocative than it is. What it lacks is not skill, but a cool distance from the cerebral blueprint that's still very visible. The album isn't heralded as groundbreaking, and it isn't. It is a smart ...

INTERVIEW

Antonio Ciacca: Bringing People Together Through Swing

Read "Antonio Ciacca: Bringing People Together Through Swing" reviewed by John Barron

Antonio Ciacca knows a thing or two about multi-tasking. The New York-based pianist is a tireless statesman of jazz, composing music for his own small groups, arranging for various big bands and working as Director of Programming for Jazz at Lincoln Center. Adding to all of this, Ciacca and his wife are busy raising five children in the hustle-and-bustle of 21st Century Manhattan.Born in Wuppertal, Germany and raised in Italy, the 40-year-old musician received a formal music education ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Antonio Ciacca: Rush Life

Read "Rush Life" reviewed by John Barron

Italian pianist Antonio Ciacca is the kind of musician who displays his influences without reservation.  Steeped in the tradition of bebop and gospel piano, the New York resident is focused on swinging as hard as he can.  Evidence of this can be heard on Rush Life, a hard-blowing quintet recording with tenor saxophonist Stacy Dillard, trumpeter Joe Magnarelli, bassist Kengo Nakamura and drummer Rodney Green.

The disc’s nine tracks are a satisfying blend of Ciacca originals and well-worn ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Antonio Ciacca: Hollis Avenue

Read "Hollis Avenue" reviewed by Jim Santella

Italian pianist Antonio Ciacca’s modern mainstream quartet session breathes dramatic fire and still contains the necessary dollop of lyrical charm. Thirty years old, favoring Thelonious Monk’s compositional spontaneity, and aware of the need for balance in one’s work, Ciacca leads two different quartets through several standards and a few originals. Young lions all, the artists dish out tributes to Monk, Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn while applying fresh ideas throughout.

The album’s title pays homage to Jaki Byard. The pianist, ...


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