Monday, January 31, 2011

SoloDado - More Moroni

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

Our recent posting on Italian Jazz pianist Dado Moroni’s forthcoming Live in Beverly Hills CD on Resonance Records [RCD-1017; March 8, 2011] got me thinking about another fairly recent CD by him which has received relatively little attention.

This may in part be due to the fact that the recording – SoloDado – was released on the relatively obscure abeat label which is based in Solbiate Olona, a town of about 6,000 in the province of Lombardy in northern Italy [not too far from Dado’s hometown of Genoa on the Italian coast].

No so amazingly these days, abeat has a website and has also made SoloDado available as an Mp3 download via, thus working to overcome one notoriously disappointing aspect of Jazz recordings produced on European labels – weak distribution.

I think the other reason for the recording’s relative lack-of-attention my be due to the fact that it is a solo piano album which some Jazz listeners do not favor because all too often the Jazz pianists featured in this format tend to show-off.

That is to say, being freed of the restraints of bass and drums, they are inclined to get carried away and play to impress rather than to play with purpose.

Of course, if you talk to Jazz pianists who favor a solo piano setting, they argue that they are going in a direction that they set for themselves rather than being shunted forward by the imperative of the bass and drums [many pianists are especially uncomplimentary when it comes to aggressive and loud drummers].

In order to help you judge for yourself, the crackerjack graphics production team at CerraJazz LTD has produced the video at the end of this piece that features Dado’s solo piano performance of Randy Weston’s Jazz standard – Little Niles.

Ironically, as he explains in the following insert notes to the recording, it was never his intention to produce a solo piano album in the first place! Here’s how the album came about.

"Perche’ non pubblichi un Cd con pezzi tuoi soltanto?"
"Perche’ non pubblichi un bel Cd di tutti standards?"
"Perche’ non fai un bel disco con tutte musiche italiane?"
"Perche’ non solo Gerswhin?"
"Perche’ perche’ perche’ perche’ "...Ma che ne so io? Lasciatemi in pace!”

"Why don’t you come out with a CD with original songs only?”
“Why don’t you do a nice CD with standards only?”
“Why don’t you do one with Italian Songs?”
“Why not Gershwin only?”
“Why why why why … How should I know? Leave me alone!”

The real reason for this Cd is that, almost by chance and in a hurry, as well, I was in my friend Roberto Vigo's studio to record one song only, Perdado by Tito Fontana, to be included in a memorial concert that takes place every year, around the date of his premature passing, celebrating our dear Tito.

Unfortunately when his daughter Cinzia called me to inform me of the exact date I was already unavailable, but I had the idea to record one tune to then be played in the theatre, almost as though I was actually there that evening.

As soon as I arrived at the studio l immediately felt a particular affinity for the piano, a magnificent Yamaha C7, and I started recording. A few minutes went by and I had the take I wanted. It was done. I only had to get the CD with Tito's song and send it to Cinzia.

But something kept me at the piano. I played freely everything that was going through my head for a good half hour, slowly coming to the realization that I could have a whole solo, piano CD.

A couple of weeks later I went back to record other pieces, standards and original compositions, some of the latter being born right there in the studio.

All thanks to the super Yamaha C7 piano, Roberto's mastery of sounds and the relaxed atmosphere. And the absolute absence of pressure.                          

That's how it went. This CD represents what I am today, it represents my moments of joy and introspection, from the need to play something of mine, personal, to the pleasure of rereading a beautiful melody from the "Great American Songbook.” That's what the word "Jazz" means to me. Freedom

In the meantime the phone rings "Why why why why"...How should I know? Leave me alone!”