Saturday, December 19, 2015

Recent Releases by Via Veneto Jazz and Jando Music

© -  Steven A. Cerra, copyright protected; all rights reserved.

Matteo Pagano is the owner-operator of Via Veneto Jazz, a Jazz record label that began operations in 1993. He works very closely with the producers at Jando Music You can locate more information about their respective backgrounds by visiting their websites -  

Through the medium of compact discs, Matteo, along with his colleagues at Jando Music, helps bring the work of Italian Jazz musicians to a wider audience

For Jazz labels such as Via Veneto Jazz, which is based in Rome, Italy, distribution can be a real issue, but Matteo and Jando Music have taken a number of steps to make his recordings more widely available: their  latest releases can be acquired through  you can also find his music at both as CD’s and Mp3 downloads and through Marco Valente online retail source - With the Euro falling back to Earth in relation to the US dollar, buying CD’s from European retailers is not the pricey proposition it once was.

The editorial staff at JazzProfiles celebrated “Via Veneto Jazz Week” in March of 2015 by posting a series of reviews and audio files of that label’s latest releases. Here’s a follow-up highlighting CD’s they have issued during the second half of 2015.

Enzo Pietropaoli
Yatra Vol. 3
Via Veneto Jazz - VVJ-100
Enzo Pietropaoli| double bass
Fulvio Sigurtà| trumpet
Julian Mazzariello | piano
Alessandro Paternesi| drums

Bassist Enzo Pietropaoli Yatra Quartet’s  latest album Yatra Vol. 3 features more music by a quartet that was formed in 2011 to play a series of concerts in India. The name “Yatra” derives from the Hindu-Urdu word  meaning “journey.”   
The group’s two previous works have earned high praise:  "Yatra" was named by the JazzIt readers  as  "Best Album of 2011", Enzo Pietropaoli "Best Bassist of 2011" and  Fulvio Sigurtà "Best New Talent of 2011" for Musica Jazz and lastly, in 2013,  Yatra Quartet was voted by Musica Jazz  - Jazz Awards as "Best Italian Group of the Year".

Yatra Vol. 3  is based on a repertoire of ten pieces with five original tracks written by Pietropaoli and five tributes to old and new musical "experiences", specifically: Stevie Wonder, Janis Joplin, Tom Waits, Blur and a song co-written by Gianni Morandi and Daniel Bacalov.

Ameen Saleem
The Groove Lab
Via Veneto Jazz - VVJ-103

Ameen Saleem | electric bass - double bass
Cyrus Chestnut|piano - rhodes – wurlitzer - organ
(David Bryant on tour)
Jeremy Clemons | drums - percussions
(Gregory Hutchinson on tour)
Stacy Dillard | tenor and soprano sax
(Marcus Strickland on tour)
Roy Hargrove|trumpet - flugelhorn
(presence on tour to be confirmed)
Gregory Hutchinson|drums
Craig Magnano| guitar
Mavis Swan Poole| vocals
Ramona Dunlop | vocals
(Mavis Swan Poole on tour)

Ameen Saleem stands out as one of the most talented bassists on the international jazz scene, widely recognized for his passionate style and unique sound. Although grounded Mainly in Jazz (Ameen is a member of the Roy Hargrove Quintet and Roy Hargrove Big Band), his music cannot be strictly defined as pertaining to a particular genre but, rather, as a uniquely personal style that spans a vast musical geography.

"The Groove Lab" explores new sonic territory,  incorporating a broad range of sounds and influences that blend to form an eclectic musical palette; a sort of neo-soul, where jazz, soul and funk come together. Ameen embarks on this musical journey with a stellar cast of musicians, all of whom are characterized by a creative, individual and expressive musical talent, stretching out beyond the boundaries of jazz.
The band includes two female vocalists with varying approaches, trumpet and flugelhorn, tenor and soprano, different pianos (acoustic piano, Wurlitzer, Rhodes, organ), guitar, electric bass and double bass, two drummers, both remarkably talented and with unique styles. The richness of colours and instruments allow Ameen and The Grove Lab band to freely glide into funk beats and jazz vibes, bluesy solos and rock electric guitar solos, bound together by remarkable empathic group interplay and innovative ways to work within jazz idiom.

Luca Nostro
Are You OK?
Via Veneto Jazz - VVJ-102

Luca Nostro|guitar and arrangements
Donny McCaslin|tenor sax
John Escreet|fender rhodes
Joe Sanders|double bass
Tyshawn Sorey|drums
Jando Music and Via Veneto Jazz present

Are you OK? was recorded by Luca Nostro in New York, together with some of the most innovative on the American and world jazz scenes: Donny McCaslin, John Escreet, Joe Sanders, Tyshawn Sorey.

The New York music scene is a constant source of inspiration for Luca, whose compositional approach focuses on building lively, flowing musical structures, interwoven with short and punchy themes, bordering on pop. The improvised performance develops from a flow of fresh and simple melodic patterns and rhythmic riffs, elaborately entwined with an exalting interplay between the musicians.

The music of Are you OK? is also inspired by works of Steve Reich, Frank Zappa, John Adams, Michele Tadini and Jacob TV, that Luca performed together with the Parco della Musica Contemporanea Ensemble (PMCE) to which he belonged for five years. Luca Nostro has also collaborated and recorded with Scott Coley, Antonio Sanchez and Mark Turner, among others.

Allesandro Galati
On A Sunny Day
Via Veneto Jazz - VVJ-105

Alessandro Galati  – Piano
Gabriele Evangelista – Double Bass
Stefano Tamborrino – Drums

On a Sunny Day, the new work by Alessandro Galati, features piano trio music that is structured around simple and melodic and singable songs. Yet, each time you listen to them, you’ll discover sensations because the melodic themes allow for an ever-changing underlying harmony.

The charm of On A sunny day" is its duality between simple and complex, between the familiar and innovative."

Michael Rosen
Sweet 17
Via Veneto Jazz - VVJ 104

Michael Rosen – Tenor Sax
Lage Lund – Guitar
Ralph Alessi - Trumpet
Domenico Sanna – Piano
Matt Penman – Double Bass
Bill Stewart – Drums

At 17, one’s dreams are alive and vivid and there’s always hope that one day these may come true, as they did for American saxophonist Michael Rosen. Rosen began studying the cello at the age of seven for two years before moving to the piano, and later at eleven he moved to the saxophone.

In the following years, he was first alto saxophone with the Middle School and High School Big Bands and received numerous state and local "best Soloist" awards. Initially, his interests lay more towards “progressive” groups such as Yes, Led Zeppelin, and Talking Heads, but when in 1985 Michael Rosen moved to Boston to study at the Berklee College of Music with renowned teachers such as Gary Burton and George Garzone, where he started to cultivate his soaring passion for the music of Charlie Parker, Joe Henderson, Miles Davis, Stan Getz and John Coltrane, and many other jazz artists who since then have been the main source of his inspiration.

Rosen has been living in Italy for almost 30 years and spends most of his time between Rome and London, highly active in the musical circles of both capital cities.

Today, after 35 years of international success with 9 CDs as a leader, over 200 as a sideman, and having collaborated with leading artists of the day such as Bobby McFerrin, Sarah Jane Morris, Mike Stern, the Orchestra della Scala, and countless other American and European musicians, the seventeen-year-old boy with long and disheveled hair, now at the height of his artistic career, returns to New York, his hometown, to record his new music together with a stellar cast of jazz musicians.

Sweet 17, as with all albums of the saxophonist/composer, leaves ample room for melodic beauty, fluidity and expressiveness, and introduces the more dynamic, modern and evolved compositions that Rosen has written so far, reflecting all the experience gained from the late 80s to date. Accompanying him on this musical experience are highly-acclaimed musicians such as: Lage Lund (guitar), Ralph Alessi (trumpet), Domenico Sanna (piano), Matt Penman (double bass) and Bill Stewart (drums).

It can be truly said that Michael Rosen’s dream, his "Sweet 17", came true and this album is the evidence.

Saxophone legend David Liebman’s comment about the CD:
“Michael Rosen has produced a very high level recording with wonderful sidemen and great tunes. The immediate feeling I got was of complete honesty and conviction, traits that we all look for in the best art. Good job!!”

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