Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Cinema Italia

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

Matteo Pagano at Via Veneto Jazz and his associates at Jando Music are releasing Cinema Italia [VVJ 110] on October 28, 2016, It will be available as an audio CD through Forced Exposure via this link and from Amazon as a pre-order.

Cinema Italia features Rosario Giuliani | alto & soprano sax, Luciano Biondini | accordion, Enzo Pietropaoli | doublebass, Michele Rabbia drums on drums, percussions, and electronics.

While themes from movies are quite common as platforms for Jazz recordings, groups fronted by woodwinds and accordion are an unusual combination in the music.

I think this may be due to the fact that the sound of the accordion has never caught on with Jazz fans, although some marvelous musicians have played the instrument over the years including Art van Damme, Mat Mathews, Ernie Felice, Angelo DiPippo, Frank Marocco, Leon Sash, Joe Mooney, Russ Messina, among many others. Of course, today, Richard Galliano and Gary Versace are two masterful players on an instrument that I think deserves a greater appreciation.

For a full listing with annotations of Jazz accordionist please use this link.

Aside from Art van Damme whom I first heard fronting his George Shearing-like quintet on NBC radio in the 1950’s, the Jazz accordionist who made the greatest impression on me was Tommy Gumina.

My first introduction to Tommy’s imposing accordion playing was while watching an episode of The Stars of Jazz television which was syndicated on the ABC network in the late 1950’s.

Actually, I tuned in to view clarinetist “Buddy DeFranco’s Quartet” not realizing at the time that he was sharing a co-billing as “The Buddy DeFranco Tommy Gumina” Quartet.” The artistry of DeFranco in combination with Tommy Gumina just knocked me out and I became an instant fan of both the group and of Gumina’s work on the accordion. Tommy gave the instrument sonorities that were rarely heard in Jazz until much later with the development and use of synthesizers in the music.

From 1961-1964, my good friend, the late Jack Tracy, produced four LP’s for Mercury Records featuring Buddy and Tommy’s group and they have remained among my favorite recordings through the years, especially when I wish to listen to the rarely heard musical textures produced by a combination of [Buddy’s] clarinet and [Tommy’s] accordion.

Imagine my surprise then when Matteo Pagano sent me a preview copy of Cinema Italia [VVJ 110] featuring a woodwind player, in this instance, soprano and alto saxophone player Rosario Giuliani and accordionist Luciano Biondini exquisitely linked through their beautiful renditions of some of the most famous musical themes in Italian Cinema.

Put another way, the music of Nino Rota and Ennio Morricone has never been so sensitively rendered in a Jazz environment. While we were not fortunate to hear DeFranco and Gumina perform Hank Mancini and Carmine Coppola, we can listen to Giuliani and Biondini interpret Morricone’s Nuovo Cinema Paradiso Rota’s haunting Theme from La Dolce Vita along with seven other tracks ably supported by Enzo Pietropaoli on bass and Michele Rabbia on drums, percussion and special effects.

Here’s more about the forthcoming CD from the press release that accompanied the preview copy of Cinema Italia [VVJ 110].

“What would film be without music?

Music conveys all that which images cannot.

The importance of a soundtrack can sometimes even transcend that of images and stories, and great directors often build the entire structure of their masterpiece around a score - the themes in this Cinema Italia are evidence of the viability of this approach.

There have been numerous masterpieces in Italian cinema that have influenced filmmakers around the world and Italy continues to distinguish itself in this art.

The Cinema Italia project is a tribute to the greatness of Italian cinema and its tradition of excellence has contributed to raising global awareness of Italy’s culture.

Equally distinct is the cast of musicians in this album: Rosario Giuliani on sax, Luciano Biondini on the accordion, Enzo Pietropaoli on the double bass and Michele Rabbia on acoustic and electronic drums.

This quartet employs a contemporary music point-of-view in rendering these cinematic refrains, but one which never betrays the melodies of these unforgettable themes.

Giuliani, Biondini, Pietropaoli and Rabbia strive to give these cinematic themes a new force and vitality, demonstrating their immortality while constantly surprising the listener with fresh, innovative versions.

Unforgettable themes from unforgettable movies, as well as, two original tracks by Rosario Giuliani and Luciano Biondini (Bianco e Nero and What is there what is, all combine to confirm the narrative force of these two, incredible composers and four, masterful musicians.

01 - La Strada (Nino Rota)          
02 – Nuovo Cinema Paradiso (Ennio Morricone)
03 - 8 e 1/2 (Nino Rota)
04 - Deborah's Theme (Ennio Morricone)
05 - Bianco e Nero (Rosario Giuliani)
06 - Impro-Romeo e Giulietta (L.Biondini – R.Giuliani/N. Rota)  
07 - What is There What is Not (Luciano Biondini)
08 - La Dolce Vita (Nino Rota)
09 - C'era una Volta il West (Ennio Morricone)     
You can sample the music on this forthcoming CD through the following audio-only version of Maestro Morricone’s theme from Nuovo Cinema Paradiso [Cinema Italia VVJ 110].

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