221

Rossano Sportiello: Piano on My Mind

By

Sign in to view read count
Rossano Sportiello: Piano on My Mind Eastwood Lane was an American pastoral woodland that composer Bix Beiderbecke admired; his "Down Stream" opens this solo second CD by the young Italian pianist Rossano Sportiello as a peaceful atmospheric etude. "Blowin' Up" is the pianist's own, featuring a boppish theme with a running left hand. It slips into a string of ballads, "You Took Advantage of Me" to "The Best Thing for You," causing a sparkle without ruffling the mood. After the ballads comes a piece in medium tempo: "That's All" in a swing to bop style, with walking, ambling, and trotting basses, long left hand runs, and a manual gear-change for just a breath of classic stride. A miraculous touch keeps everything moving and coloured. Sportiello manages alternations of pace with exceptional fluency.

"Detroit Medley" is a sequence of three themes by Tommy Flanagan ("Dalarna"), Hank Jones with Coleman Hawkins ("Angel Face"), and Barry Harris ("Nascimento"), one of Rossano Sportiello's mentors. The demonstration of intimate affinities is followed by Willie the Lion Smith's "Echoes of Spring," which achieves amazing stillness. Even "Lady Be Good" is taken for a fair stretch at ballad tempo before the pace picks up. There's even some Monkish stride before a passage of straight medium-fast stride in a performance which also demonstrates puissant stride left hand.

"Bluesale" is the pianist's own twelve-bar theme—as if he reincarnates some undeservedly forgotten pianist around from the 1940s, a species always neglected on record—with a rare command of tone and an ability to phrase across or suspend the beat. The theme of Teddy Wilson's "Sunny Morning" sounds a tad boppish here. The composition is Wilson's encapsulation of his own style, whose rhythmic underpinnings were very different from the stride basis of the Sportiello style. The pianist maintains his own rhythmic distinctiveness here, which on the Wilson number makes for intriguing complexity.

Restrained master stride makes its appearance in "All God's Chillun Got Rhythm" in, well, amazing flashes. To make a graceless transition of a sort not on this CD, Eastwood Lane was, it seems, somewhere in the background when Beiderbecke composed "Flashes." He never himself record it, but he might have played it as strictly in tempo as he did "In a Mist." By the time of the 1935 premiere recording by Bix's friend Jess Stacy, jazz rhythm had loosened up, and Stacy's take is still well worth hearing.

This rendition has the singular Sportiello flexibility and flow, maintaining the same pulse which is audible through this relaxed set. Sportiello is among the least showy of pianists of such huge technical accomplishment. When a lot of notes come along, he phrases them with the dynamic command of an old master hornman or, among the pianists who are heroes to Rossano Sportiello, John Bunch.


Track Listing: Down Stream; You Took Advantage Of Me; Blowin' Up;Cheek To Cheek; Sweet Lorraine; The Best Thing For You; That's All; Tenderly; Detroit Medley; Echoes Of Spring; Oh, Lady, Be Good!; Bluesale; Tangerine; Sunny Morning; Body And Soul; All God's Chillun Got Rhythm; Flashes.

Personnel: Rossano Sportiello: piano.

Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Jazz Connaisseur | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture CD/LP/Track Review The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Coldest Second Yesterday CD/LP/Track Review Coldest Second Yesterday
by John Sharpe
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Chicago II CD/LP/Track Review Chicago II
by Doug Collette
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Follow Your Heart CD/LP/Track Review Follow Your Heart
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read "Otterville" CD/LP/Track Review Otterville
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 11, 2016
Read "The BBC Sessions Vol. 1" CD/LP/Track Review The BBC Sessions Vol. 1
by Rokas Kucinskas
Published: October 29, 2016
Read "The Sparrow" CD/LP/Track Review The Sparrow
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: September 15, 2016
Read "Michael Shrieve's Spellbinder" CD/LP/Track Review Michael Shrieve's Spellbinder
by Doug Collette
Published: August 17, 2016
Read "X-Ray Search Light Project: Djuke Music" CD/LP/Track Review X-Ray Search Light Project: Djuke Music
by Dave Wayne
Published: May 19, 2016
Read "We Live Here" CD/LP/Track Review We Live Here
by Geno Thackara
Published: January 18, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

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!